Well this is the second installation of reflections from my trip to Michigan. I am going to be extremely open and honest as I usually try to be even knowing who may be reading this blog.
After the memorial service on Saturday afternoon, my friends Ron & Sue Mielecki were joking with me saying ,”you’re just going to leave your violin set up for tomorrow morning for church right?” Then that turned into a semi-joke which was volunteering me to help lead worship in the morning at my former home church of 20 years. Now, all jokes aside, I did end up leading part of the worship set the following morning at Calvary Temple, as later that afternoon I felt as though it was something that the Lord wanted me to do, and I wanted to do. The experience was a surreal one. That particular Sunday morning marked roughly 6 years since I had left Michigan, and this was my first visit back to Calvary Temple Assemblies Of God in over 4 years. Wow! How time flies.
My heart was stirred. Plain and simple. The stirrings may not be so simple, but that’s what happened that morning. I led songs as I normally would anywhere else, but every time I would look out at the people who were there that morning, I saw a handful of people completely engaged and the vast majority whom were either completely shut off, confused, or non-receptive. The awesome thing is that when I left Calvary Temple that morning, my heart felt happy. There would have been plenty of room for disappointment, but my heart felt satisfied. I was satisfied knowing that I went after the heart of God, and poured out my love and affection on the King of all Kings. And in that 20 minutes, I know there were a handful who came with me.
You do your very best to be a bridge builder but in the end, I don’t know how many of the “seemingly unresponsive” may have encountered the Lord that morning regardless of outward appearance. And what you see with your eyes in the natural can not dictate where you go in the Spirit, for what is happening in the Spirit can often look very different. Despite any who chose to sit out that morning, in my heart I did everything in the most honoring way I knew how, and in a way that I believe Jesus loved and felt honored by.
My heart was stirred.
It's stirred with the same ache that existed right before I left, six years later I can still feel it. My heart aches for those who have not yet had a genuine encounter with the power of God; and that still breaks me. I know that I will never be able to shake that. It pains me to see people come to a place where they should be able to experience the fullness of God alongside their brothers and sisters and yet they choose the established traditions and limiting chains.
The church should be a community where the Holy Spirit acts as a guide and place where He has free reign to move how He sees fit, not a stiff box where people are trapped by the laws of modern day religion. We have far too many in the body of Christ who think they are serving Jesus, and the only thing they are serving is the religion of Christianity. That is the truth of the matter.
I intend to use my experiences and life to open a door for the Holy Spirit to come and do whatever He sees fit to do in the lives of those around me. I long to spend my life being an open door, vessel, and channel for the Lord to use to bring freedom to the captives. In my life, I know there will be a special emphasis on freeing the religiously captive within these Western churches.
I am still learning with every experience and with every day. Learning to love, to forgive, to follow His voice, to obey, to pursue His fullness. Learning to rest, to fight the battles that need fighting, to listen when no response is needed, and to move when He says “go.” I don’t ever want to get to the place where I shut myself off from hearing the voice of the Lord. If nothing else, I simply want to love on Him and be loved by Him.
To my former home church, Calvary Temple:
I have known many of you for a long time, and though a lot of things have come in the way of this particular body reaching its’ full potential, I encourage you to reach for the fullness of what God has for you. There is a place of freedom that the Lord is longing with all His heart to take you. To those of you whom I know are faithful striving to see Jesus glorified and to see a way made for the Holy Spirit to have His way at all times; know that I am praying for you always.
Though I am far away, my heart is still with you. May the Lord bring His peace in your midst, and may He continue to draw you to the new places He is wanting to take you. I can’t wait to worship with you again soon. Let’s continue serving the Lord together and sharing our struggles and our triumphs with one another, that God may be glorified in and through our lives.
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