Sunday, September 28, 2014

From Just Sitting To Real Living

It’s a standard item of furniture in many churches.

You can pick one up at an antique store, flea market or random garage sale to decorate your home. I've spent years sitting in them on Sundays. Me, all dressed up with my hands folded in my lap, politely nodding as the Pastor pours out his soul from the riser in front of the congregation. Indeed I've sat there with my back pressed against the hard wood seat, listening to sermon after sermon, about a powerful and awesome God, but honestly didn't experienced it.  

On top of that, I have to admit, I like to sit in the same pew every week at the nine o’clock service. I have my reasons. In the front there are fewer distractions for my wandering mind. The pew doesn't have my name on it, but it seems like it could. And I join in to sing about God and hear about God and even talk about God, but there has not always been a real, heart-beating relationship with God.

For decades I thought church was a place where people disagree about the doctrine, the music, and what day to have the pot luck dinner. In those dry years of going through the motions, filing into narrow rows and taking my place on the hardwood bench affixed firmly in one place. I arrived moments before things started and slipped out as quickly as possible at the conclusion. 

If someone asked me how I was - well the answer was, “I’m fine.”

Nothing deep.

Nothing personal.

Just look like a nice church person for an hour or so and let’s get on with the rest of life.

I wonder how many other people believe that's all there is to church?

Sometimes it’s hard to find Jesus sitting in a church pew.

I longed to experience this powerful God, to hear His voice and to live like I really believed that the whole Bible was true and applied to my everyday life. 

There were things that began to happen that took me outside my comfort zone. It began to effect how I lived for Jesus on Sunday and every other day.

It involved me, opening my heart and life to the people around me who had needs. Needs that I could meet, so they could catch a glimpse of Jesus outside the church walls. 

It involved being completely wreaked by hard things, such as children not living the way I would have hoped and people closest to me not loving me like I have longed for. In small steps I learned to love them all anyway, because that is what Jesus says we are to do. 

And then there was cancer. Those words that rocked me deep in my soul like an earthquake shakes you out of bed in the middle of the night and you realize that this life isn’t going to last forever. 

I guess you could say I began to see Jesus outside of the box. 

I had learned a lot of things sitting in church, but I needed to put my faith into action. When we move into serving Jesus with wholehearted abandon He will unfold the amazing plan He will breath out His plan one act of love at a time for each of us. 

One of the highlights of my week is to join the people who gather on Sunday and worship Jesus as Lord and Savior. But Jesus longs for us to move beyond the trappings of religion. 

He wants us to influence the world around us. 

For me there is always another step to take away, from just sitting in church with a sincere yet shallow faith, ignoring what is really important.

God is real, powerful and amazing and He wants us to not just sit in a pew taking in information, 

He longs that we really live it out in a world that desperately needs to see Him.

Could I challenge both of us this week?  

What would it look like if we stopped just sitting and started really living for Jesus?


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© Rhonda Quaney