Our family has been a member of the same church since 1975. My husband even longer, he was a member as a child, in the mid 1960's. We moved away for job relocations and returned, as he had when he was a boy, always to the same church. Our children grew up there; were baptized, confirmed, married and their babies were baptized there... at the same font where their parents were welcomed into God's family. Our friends are there, relationships developed over decades of raising children together, fellowship activities and serving God on a myriad of committees together. We have strong relationships with our Pastors there, and the staff. And yet, given all of that, I felt strongly this past summer that God was calling me away from that place. It is hard to write, even now, how painful that realization was. I rationalized, I bargained, I struggled, I cried, I even tried to ignore God's nudge. It was impossible. My husband felt the same calling, his response was the same. We prayed; separately, and together, for clear discernment. What is this type of discernment we prayed for, you might ask. Well, one of the best definitions of it, in the Biblical sense, is found here:
From Grace To You by John MacArthur:
The key to living an uncompromising life lies in one's ability to exercise discernment in every area of his or her life. For example, failure to distinguish between truth and error leaves the Christian subject to all manner of false teaching. False teaching then leads to an unbiblical mindset, which results in unfruitful and disobedient living-a certain recipe for compromise.
Unfortunately, discernment is an area where most Christians stumble. They exhibit little ability to measure the things they are taught against the infallible standard of God's Word, and they unwittingly engage in all kinds of unbiblical decision-making and behavior. In short, they are not armed to take a decidedly biblical stand against the onslaught of unbiblical thinking and attitudes that face them throughout their day.
Discernment intersects the Christian life at every point. And God's Word provides us with the needed discernment about every issue of life. According to Peter, God "has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3). You see, it is through the "true knowledge of Him," that we have been given everything we need to live a Christian life in this fallen world. And how else do we have true knowledge of God but through the pages of His Word, the Bible? In fact, Peter goes on to say that such knowledge comes through God's granting "to us His precious and magnificent promises" (2 Peter 1:4).
I don't believe it was a coincidence that my husband and I felt led away at the same time. There are no coinidences with God. And yet, at the time, I didn't recognize that. After counsel with church leaders, crying gallons of tears and feeling as though we were being physically torn in two, we did leave our beloved church. "What now, God? This is scary!"
Through God's grace a new mission church has begun. It's not been easy, but God has been there directing every step; support has been supplied generously at each turn. Tomorrow will be the fourth scheduled worship service. We are in a temporary location right now and have had our share of hiccups along the way. At the inaugural worship service the organ decided to die near the conclusion of the first hymn. And yet, God's faithful people rose and sang, unaccompanied. On the second Sunday it began snowing about an hour before worship began. And yet, God's faithful people came. Last Sunday the service had to be cancelled due to snow and icy road conditions. And yet, God's people move forward; with His help and guidance, He is there with us in the Sunday School program and at Women's Bible Study. I share all of this with you today because I feel led to do so. This blog chronicles my life and faith and represents who Mrs. Goodneedle is, this new chapter is simply just too big, too good, not to share! Has the road thus far been easy? Absolutely not. From a personal standpoint, I still grieve the loss of what was, as does my husband. Has this move been worth the pain? Yes!, there is nothing but joy and excitement in our hearts and souls over what is! God has richly blessed this new mission church. There is no doubt in my mind that stepping out in faith was exactly the right thing to do at this time. God had already chosen the path. Please join us in prayer for the future of Grace Lutheran Church. We give thanks for all that He has done and all that is to come.
Life is Good!