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Posts Tagged ‘Vineyard’

It’s been  a roller coaster of a year for my family. We lost lots of friends in a church transition (people left, but we’re not calling it a church plant or a church split. Call it whatever you want). We had a baby. We got jobs, lost jobs, started counseling, heard from a father, and were called to a new church.

Today I was thinking about a father’s blessing. In the Old Testament, a father’s blessing told you who you were. We crave this, need it, and so often miss it.

When the church transition happened, my family was promised a blessing as we  followed God by staying at our church, but it never came. Someone important in our lives, powerful, and significantly opinionated told me that he didn’t believe we’d heard God, that I was just leading my husband by the nose because I wanted to stay with my “new friends.” Ouch.

I spent months doubting my ability to hear and follow the Lord. This man, who I love and admire and respect greatly, stole my blessing and stripped me of my confidence. Such is the power of our pastoral leaders, if only they knew.

Today we got word from our pastor; he believes this is a God-lead move, he wants to release and bless us to go to our new church. I find myself sobbing at the thought, not only of leaving my church family, not only at getting the blessing I was willing to wrestle for, but of the absolute gift of those lies coming untrue (Listen to Jason Gray if you don’t understand this expression).

We DID hear God correctly a year ago. My HUSBAND is leading our family into this move. JESUS is my confidence. God is restoring what the locusts have eaten. And even though I count this a joy, I’m still haunted by the fact that my blessing is coming from someone other than the one who promised it.

“There’s no wound that love won’t mend and finally redeem” says one of my favorite songs. I’m seeing that happen, seeing the Kingdom come today. For me.

We’re given the choice: bless or curse. What do you choose?

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Wow, what a day. The time change, a pre-dawn run, and a new church combined to make today feel epic on many levels. And of course, there was the green Saab.

What, I haven’t talked about the green Saab here? I can’t believe it, but the search function doesn’t lie. 🙂 For the last few years, I see this acid green Saab convertible from time to time. It’s always going somewhere other than I am (that is, it’s turning when I’m going straight, or going the opposite direction), and I saw it two weeks ago Wednesday, the day before God spoke to us about a new church.

And finally, I realized what the green Saab means. It means change is coming. It’s a different direction. Guess what we saw on the way home from church today? Sitting in a church parking lot, no less. I about cried.

So, the church itself. Well, it’s small. Much smaller than I’m accustomed to, since there are two services. There were about 50 people there this morning, 2/3 less than a normal morning at the Atlanta Vineyard.  I was getting all antsy and bummed out but then had a moment to reflect and repent. God is calling us away from our home church. If He’s taking us somewhere new, into a “land of our anointing,” there’s no better place to be.

Yeah, this is going to hurt. A lot. I struggle with letting people know me, and I’m not big on trust. I guess I’ve got some work to do in a church who puts “community” in its name.

I don’t know if there were less people than usual this morning because of the time change, but one thing that bothered me was that the people there didn’t seem like worshipers in the sense that I’m accustomed to. They sang, but there were no hands lifted, no dancing, no one on their knees. And that freaks me out a little, after being in my church for so long. I thought, “I can’t be in a church where people aren’t free to worship.”

But you know what happens when you think like that? It leaves a little niggling space for God to speak to you. Like when He said, “Maybe that’s what YOU bring. Maybe there’s freedom for others in YOUR worship.”

Humbled, and hopeful. Maybe there is freedom for others through my risk.

I (largely) get past my discomfort when the pastor starts his message. Right off the bat, he starts talking about Moses and the holy ground he was standing on. OK, you’ve got my attention. The message was about community, being DEEP in community, BELONGING in community. I was rapt.

Near the end, he started talking about the storehouse, the food pantry the church offers to the community. Now, if you know me IRL, you know that food is my passion. I love to feed people. I love teaching people to eat healthy, inexpensive food. I have a vision for this food pantry, and we’re not even 100% sure that this is our church!

So where does that leave us? Well, I’m not sure. The Music Man and I both sense that we’re home. The children love their classes already. I’m afraid I’m being a bit like Gideon asking God for one more confirmation before we know for sure. I need either that, or for Him to speak with certainty to my soul that we’re supposed to step out on faith here. Either way, I’m more confident than ever that we’re supposed to leave AVC and find a new home.

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Wow, it has been a packed week! Three birthdays to prepare for (my Joyful One is turning THREE tomorrow!), the baby isn’t letting me sleep (nearly delusional from deprivation), and the usual busyness of life seems to be overtaking me. And y’all know about counseling, which is already kicking my butt. Things are just a bit tough all around. Not bad, just complicated.

Anyhow, on Thursday God woke me up at 3:21 am. I prayed, I sang worship songs to myself, I watched my baby’s sweet face and murmured mama love to her for three hours. Somewhere in that time, God spoke that we were about to leave our church, the ONLY church I’ve belonged to as a believer. He showed me a picture of deep roots, gnarled together, knit tight. Community.

My first thought? “Um, no.” Seriously, I thought I was losing it because I’ve been just so sleep deprived. Not wanting to miss what God might choose to speak to me, I asked the Music Man to be listening for anything the Lord may want to tell him during the day.

He came home and said, “I feel like I’m supposed to ask you if we’re changing churches.” Gulp. Well, ok then. We were in agreement, but felt we needed to wait for one more confirmation because it is such a hey-uge decision. It came first thing Sunday morning.

We discussed a list of possible churches, and the top of the list is another Vineyard church, just 30 miles closer (each way) to our home. On paper, this close Vineyard looks perfect. There’s just one leeetle issue, and that’s that the “new” possible church is the church the Not-So-Casual-Observer belongs to. So she and I will have to have a chat to discuss what that would look like.

After church, I went into a meeting with the women’s ministry team and was absolutely blown away by what I heard. Ransomed Grace just came out and asked if I had anything to say to the team. I told them what God was saying to the Music Man and I, and time stopped as I awaited her answer.

She said, “Well, the reason I’m not upset (I was crying by this point) is that God’s already told me that it’s time for your family to live in community. And I think you’re supposed to stay in the Vineyard. Community. Vineyard.”

Did I mention that the church we’re most considering is called the Vineyard Community Church? I see God’s fingerprints all over this situation. I’m giving up my leadership position, my teaching, essentially all my service, but I have perfect peace.

I’m so sad, but feel like this mourning is a good thing. I’m feeling something, and that’s better than I was doing when I started counseling four months ago.

We went to talk with our pastor today, because we feel strongly that we should not leave our current church without his blessing. I want to be sent out, for there to be no question that we’re following God’s call. I want my old pastor and my new pastor to be able to have a chat about where we fit into church life. I feel like I finally understand why the Bible says “A good name is better to be chosen than great riches.” I care so much about maintaining my good name, and want to be bridge builders within these two churches.

After talking with Johnny, the plan is to do a week on and a week off at a new place, then talk with him about how we feel after we’ve gotten the lay of the land. This is sacred ground here, and I want this to go exactly the way God wants it to.

We’re so excited, even though this comes at great expense. Please pray that God would help us know that we’re home the minute we walk in the door, and that our kids would transition seamlessly.

It’s time for a new adventure!

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