Welcome to the Patchwork Blog! I hope you enjoy reading my random thoughts about life, Jesus and the freedom he offers.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Church as an idol?

Ever since Mandy asked the question "I am wondering why you are doing what clearly makes you feel uncomfortable?", I have been wondering why I seem to be pulled to getting so involved with a church again. I think agreeing to lead the Bible study and helping out on the morning of the ladies breakfast was going too fast too soon. I rushed back onto auto-pilot. Big mistake!

I think I am getting Church and God mixed up in my heart.  I think perhaps I need to rethink what it means to be a member of the church. I need to rethink my role as a Christian in the local church. It's almost like being a 'good' member of the church, and being approved of by them is more important than spending time with God and building up my relationship with Him again. Or its like I think that in order to love God I must get deeply involved in the church straight away.

I have made this leap of faith, and  I have chosen to believe in God  but for some reason I am going back to what it was like before. Church before God. I need to start as I mean to go on and worship God first, not Church. The Westminster Confession says  "Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."  I have started to believe in God again but now my focus has gone off God and onto Church.
If I don't make God my first priority then I will end up burnt out as I was before.  I think I need to learn to get a balance between loving God and building my relationship with Him, and  my need to be involved in the local church. At the moment it is veering back to being tipped in favour of Church again. If there is a God and I have made a step of faith, by choosing to believe that there is one, then He must come first.  It is God who gives me eternal life, not the church.

Am I worshipping God or the church?
 I don't think I have realised before how much my faith is tied up in what I do at Church. Even as I write this I am realising how much my view of God is tied up in being accepted by the local church rather than by being accepted by God. Being a Christian has been about faith for me but a large part of it has been being involved in the church. Church has become my God.  Being involved in church, and what the church think of me has been my idol. I want God to be my God not Church. I want to learn to spend time with God for His sake, not for how church will view me.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Roller coaster ride

I found myself leading our Bible study group on Tuesday. It scared me how quickly I fell back into it. I was back on auto-pilot and  asking questions etc. At the time it felt OK but I now feel very vulnerable and scared in a funny way. Not sure what is going on for me. I don't want to get back to where I was before. I want this time to be a real heart response to God. I want to discover Him without being told what to think or believe. It is almost like being on a roller coaster. I got on without realising what I was doing and then was scared I couldn't get back off.  There is an advert in the UK at the moment. An older couple sit on a seat to each sandwiches. The man asks for a cheese one. Then the mechanical seat restraints of a roller coaster come down over them and they find themselves on a ride they were not expecting.  After they get off the man ask his wife "what sort of cheese was that?". I can't  think now what it advertises but it is sort of how I have been feeling this week.

The people at this church I am going to are lovely. But it is all just the same as before. The same kind of people, and the same opinions and cliches about God. I feel like I am being dragged back into a swamp again.

I helped on a women's breakfast yesterday. I wished I had not in some ways. All the old resentments about working for the church came back to me. I found myself getting very angry with the whole situation. But I stayed and kept helping because I really like the lady who was co-ordinating the whole thing and she was working so hard for us all.

I don't want to be back in the situation when I trying make my faith fit what others say. I want to work out a relationship with God on my own. I want to open my heart to Him but fear stops me. I spent a lot of my time in ministry receiving things about God at a head level, and then immediately giving them away by telling others without letting it drop into my heart. I  am scared I will be back to that again. I don't want to do that. I want to start receiving the things I learn about God - it is the only way to freedom. And I need freedom from things holding me back in my life.