Since our family found a church home, we frequently find ourselves trying to describe what we love about it. More importantly, what we feel makes it different, what has created not just the desire to continue going, but the need to immerse ourselves in the community there.
Throughout my life I have experienced many different churches, church going people, non-church going people, believers, and non-believers – and many combinations of these. One uniting experience everyone seems to share is that of a Christian church and/or a people who say one thing and do another. Those who have made us feel unwelcome, judged, and “less than”. Those who give because it makes them look good, but do not themselves sacrifice or get dirty. Those that make us feel like we have to pretend to be something we’re not.
Today the differences seemed obvious: our church follows the teachings of Jesus and it attracts people who are trying to follow Jesus.
I wasn’t trying to follow Jesus. I was really only trying the “church thing” again to humor my husband, with the slightest hope we might find a community offering healthy family centered social opportunities. But upon entering the building I felt something flutter and during the service there began a shift deep within me. I knew I would be back, I wanted more. Everyone in our family had an experience that first day. My husband and our boys were beaming with joy from the experience. We went back the next Sunday and the next. Missing a Sunday never entered into our minds. I realized the depth of change going on inside of me when my husband was called out of town for work and I did not use that as an excuse to skip church. I not only had begun following Jesus, I was falling in love with Him!
Let me say right here: Yes, that sounds strange to me! However, falling in love with Jesus is not comparable to falling in love with another human. As much as I love my husband, he is human. Part of what is meant when we refer to everyone being a sinner – we all make mistakes! Love between humans still leave us wanting more, we work on our relationships, reading books to improve our communication, etc., but being human means we aren’t perfect! Sometimes we’re going to act selfishly, our pride will get in the way, and we must learn forgiveness. Jesus is perfect! He loves us all just the way we need to be loved, no matter which “love language” suits us. He is always there when we need Him, attentive, protective, guiding, and He encourages me to question Him and my faith.
Our church Heartland Community Church not only helps guide those who are trying to follow Jesus, but seeks to show the world who Jesus is by example.