Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year - New Thought Patterns

Happy New Year's Everyone! I am so excited about 2009 and all that God will do this year. I don't really believe in resolutions because I have never kept them. That's the thing, I can't keep them - not alone anyway. I need the power of God to help me. I can't do anything in my own strength.

As 2008 closed, my husband and I decided that we would join a new church by the start of the new year. We had been visiting a few churches and they were really great but we wanted to be sure that we were where God wanted us to be. Our old church was nearly 20 miles from home. The distance and time was really beginning to be overwhelming so we obeyed the voice of the Lord and moved on to our next assignment. It wasn't easy because we had grown to love the members and the ministry over the years we spent there.

Throughout the process of looking for a new church, I went through many highs and lows. Either it was too far, too traditional, my husband liked the place and I didn't or vice versa. There was always something. There were several times I found myself feeling discouraged and ready to give up. I reasoned that I could just continue to visit churches forever and it wouldn't matter as long as I went. What did I need to be a member of a church for as long as I was a member of the Body of Christ? As long as I tithed, it didn't matter if it was going to the same congregation as long as it was going to the Kingdom of God, right? I didn't really feel that way. I needed to make excuses to make myself feel better.

You see, I understood that it was time for me to leave my old church. There were parts of me that couldn't wait to leave but then there were other parts of me that wanted to stay because I was comfortable. I knew what to expect. I didn't have to meet new people and learn new ways of doing things. Things were the way they were and there was nothing I could do about it.

Then on the other hand I felt out of place, out of touch, out of fellowship even though I was in somebodies church every Sunday. I began to feel like we would never find "the right place". Well, this Sunday when the church we had been visiting for a few months opened the doors of the church, my husband led the way up to the alter. We decided to unite with International City Community Church. I am sure that this will be a new and exciting experience for us both.

I decided to share my testimony about finally finding a new church because there are a lot of us that are trying to decide which move to make, which way to go and want to start the new year off in the direction we hope to be headed in for the rest of the year. Sometimes we feel like God has promised us that there is more out there for us and that it's time to make a change but WE decide to stay where we are out of complacency and fear. My prayer is that we will all seek the face of the Lord for direction and allow Him to lead us by His Spirit.

We spent months searching for a new church home and then ended up going to the first church that we ever visited together which is less than 10 minutes from home. I couldn't help but feel a little like the Children of Israel. How could a trip that should have talked us 10 minutes take us 10 months? That's something for me to pray about.

How did you end up at your church? How did you know that was "the place"?


Sharon said...

My sister, you are not alone. We are in the same situation, but we refuse to go to just any church, we have to belong, we have to feel the holy spirit, for instance I haven't been feeling to good I guess I got the flu after xmas, well we decided to try this new church sunday, I was feeling fine before we went in, 15 minutes after we were in there, i started falling apart, I was also hearing things coming from these people that did not line up with the bible, then the pastor there instead of preaching us a word from the bible, he began to tell us that we only have 36months before the lord will be here, "WHAT"!!! after that I looked ay my husband and said I didn't feel good and I was going out to the car, 5 minutes after being outside I was feeling like a new person, then here came brad and his friend mark. The pastor there continued to talk politics, this is not where I should be. We just have to keep praying to our heavenly father, asking for the direction. Never,never give up!
And You too keep trying other churches there are so many, you and I both will find the one that we will feel the holy spirit and know that we know, that is where we should be. AMEN!!!!
Happy New Year it's a great year!!

Spring Fricks said...

That is so awesome. Funny, when God called us to leave our church it took us a year to obey. But, we did and God does know best.

I pray many doors of opportunity open up for you this year Shanita and I also pray that you begin to touch lives in the fullness of your calling and that your destiny begins to unfold right before your eyes! Amen.

From the Heart said...

Shanita, You and Sharon are not alone. I had been out of church for a while recovering from back surgery in May of 2007. At that point there was still a Senior Adult Service at 3 pm on Sunday that was great for me. I loved the pastor (who was new). He always told me he was praying for me because he could see the pain I was in. Well about 3 months or so after that the 3pm service was cancelled. When we went back to the "big" church everything had changed. We had a new pastor, songs were totally new and most of the people I did not know. I went when I felt good, it was hard for me to sit or stand very long. Finally when I didn't go my husband started staying home. He tried getting back in the choir but it just was not comfortable for him. We are in our late 60's and he felt he had served his time. He sang in a gospel quartet for four years when the girls were small, then we moved to this church and he just fit right in. God really used him, but as I said before after everything I had been through I just did not have the desire to go back. I keep praying, asking God to open doors for us but so far nothing has grabbed us. This is so hard for me because we went to church everytime the doors were open. There aren't many churchs around us that I really want to go to. I still feel like this church is my home and I just keep praying that God will change the minds of those in authority and start the service for Senior Adults again. We will just have to pray for each other that God will open doors for us.
I still pay my tithes to this church and will until God shows me differently.

I may have already told you this, but if not, you can read my post "Reach Out and Touch" where I wrote a testimony of how God has spared my life at least twice.

Doing the Internet Biby Study with Rachel Olsen and starting a blog has been my salvation and I give God all the praise for this. When I started I felt like I didn't have a friend at all, now I have a world of friends.
God bless you as you search for a church,

Debra said...

We are blessed by the teaching at our church, but it's 45 minutes away. So we are out of some things. It's a small church. We feel we are not to move. We have been very blessed there so even though the drive is hard, we will be there every Sunday!
The most important thing is to find a church that doesn't deviate from the Bible. And pastors that spend a lot of time with the Lord-that's tops!
Love, Debra

Shanita Waters said...

God's morning everyone!
Thank you so much for sharing your stories, encouragement and prayers. I truly appreciate it. This process has been a long one and at times quite difficult and confusing but the Lord has gotten us through.

I am really excited about our new church and looking forward to the new member's classes so I ask that you all continue to pray for me and my family as I pray for you and yours. I thank God for sending me to Blogger because you all help and bless me a LOT more than you could ever imagine. Some of you have been like family to me.

For a while I was ashamed to admit that I didn't have a "church home". I felt like I needed a steady place to worship to some how "validate" my Christianity (this will be another post someday) but I believe God allowed me to fellowship in different places to see some other things so that when HE sent me some place I could tell the difference. you can be in a "good church" and it still not be where you "belong". I realize that this place is not perfect but I believe this is where the Lord wants me to be for this season.

@ Sharon and Alice - I am praying that God will plant you some place you can both blossom. I am sure that He will in His time. While you are in the transitionary process, be sure to keep yourselves covered in prayer even more.

@ Debra - I'm glad to hear that you and you're family are happy and being fed where you are. It wasn't just the distance that caused me to want to make the move. The distance was the deciding factor for the hubby. There were some other reasons I was ready to leave but I had to wait for my husband and I to both be in agreement. I didn't want to move out of order. It's real easy to reason within ourselves as women that we are grown and can do what we want regardless of what our husbands think. This type of thinking is fine in the world but contrary to the will of God. I had to learn to be submissive - not a fool but submissive. LOL (This is another topic for another post)

@ My Dear Sister Spring - that is a great new picture of you! I am so happy that God led us to one another. I am truly blessed by your writings and I know that your gifts will make room for you. Fear Not and Be not dismayed. Trust in the Lord and He will direct your paths.

I don't know why it takes us so long to obey the Lord in some areas but in others we instantly follow His voice. I heard a preacher once say that delayed obiedience is still disobiedience and ALL disobiedience is sin. I don't want to be disobiedient...anymore.


A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Wow, that's a great story. Oftentimes, the best things for us are right under our nose! But as "humans" we think we know what's best.... Imagine how many times God smiles down on us and think, oh my children, when will your learn? (lol)

I did some church hopping like you and visited about 4 and wanted something closer to home. My first visit to Cross County Baptist felt like a shoe that you try on and you tell the sales person, "I'll take it." It's small and warm and everyone knows everyone and the thing that hooked me was a young lady followed me as I left and have me her name, home number, cell number and e-mail address. She said if I needed anything or just wanted to fellowship to please call. I remember thinking before I was saved that I wonder what it would be like to fellowship and now I know. There I was Baptized on November 19, 2008. Praise God.

With you I'm not good a keeping resolutions but I'm trying something different this time. I've made two major ones that are a must, Read 4 chapters a day of God's will for my life and to take better care of me. Then I will make mini ones each month. For the month of Jan. No buying coffee, I have to make it and only eat something sweet on Sat. So start small and you'll feel proud of yourself, I believe in YOU!

Have a great week!

Parkay said...

Hi Shanita, another great post! It's good to hear that you are finally happy and feeling at home at your new place of worship.

luvmy4sons said...

So glad you found your church! God is faithful. Each time we have left (a total of three in the past 17 years) it seemed most definitely that we were supposed to and once we truly had no choice because of circumstances. And God brought confirmation by both hubby and I having a "sense" in agreement and a desire to keep going back and no desire to go anywhere else.

Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet said...

Hi Shanita-

Switching church is never fun especially if you love it. I lived in Atlanta for over a year (2004-2005) and attended Dr. Charles Stanley's church (First Baptist Atlanta) and I loved it and when it came time to move to NY - it was hard to leave the church behind.

I recently started attending my current church. I have attended a number of churches before settling on the current one. It was obvious that some of them I had to attend only because the teaching was clearly not biblical.

Like you, the last church was quite far - about an hour drive each way - mega church as they call them but godly pastor. There was no children ministry and my son was getting bored and not paying attention during services - partly because it was kid appropriate. As I visited other churches with children's activities, he wanted to go there instead.
Long story short, current church is very small and very different from the other churches - about 100 members, 1 hour service, small groups and there's a sense of community and fellowship among the believers. It didn't fit the profile of what I was looking for by far but God had other plans. I am meeting with the pastor (s) this month to discuss possible starting a small group bible study.

God knew and He always does.

Oh and for the Pay It Forward giveaway - as a winner you agree to choose 3 gifts (your choice) to give away to visitors on your blog and your winners pass it on. Gifts that keep on giving...


Joyfulsister said...

Hi Sis,
I'm so glad you both finally found a church to call home, and only 10 minutes away what a blessing. I'm still praying about the same situation with my husband. Our church now will be moving farther away and we don't feel lead to follow in that direction so we are in prayer about which step to take next.

Hugz Lorie

Mary Moss said...

Our daughter was in second grade and a "new boy in the class" had a father AND a mother who were pastors. My daughter wanted to go see the mom (go woman power!) as she was fascinated that a pastor would be (1) a woman and (2) mom!

We were greeted warmly the first time we attended and we have been there ever since:-) (My daughter will be 24 next month!)

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very uplifting and encouraging to read
i believe true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and truth. I believe this insistence on truth as being fundamental to our worship, often leads us outside the camp to Jesus, 'for we don't have here a city that continues but earnestly seek the one to come.' So many of us are like Jesus ' birds have nests and foxes have dens, but the Son of man has no where to lay his head

prashant said...

when God called us to leave our church it took us a year to obey. But, we did and God does know best.
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