I was raised/still am very Charismatic. I've never been in a church service where the Holy Spirit was moving and I was weirded out by what was physically going on in the service. That might be my favorite thing about my upbringing. I'm totally comfortable responding to the Holy Spirit in any place under any circumstance doing whatever He is asking. Even if it might seem embarrassing to some. My comfort zone is stretchy.
The church I am about to become a member of is very different from the church I was raised in. Well, I shouldn't say VERY. Just a little bit different. But I like it. It's a non-denominational church on the move, progressing each service toward the wonderful community of believers God has called it to be.
It's great because there isn't a lot of commotion, but the Holy Spirit is still very present in every service. That's one thing, though, that clashes with my idea of church.
God and His Holy Spirit are present in places they are called upon, desired. Whether it's the small Baptist church on the corner of Main or the 1200 member Pentecostal church on the other side of town. We call upon the same God, He desires and responds to the same kind of praise. He is present where He is loved.
It's like every service at this church is planned for me because the pastor knows it's just exactly what I need to heard. It's just exactly what I need help in, need convicted of, need more of.
For example, this last week was about love. It may sound simple, but loving is hard for me. It's hard for me to love the people I love and the people I don't even like. And I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this, although for a long time I thought I was.
Think for a second. It's hard to love people sometimes because they hurt us, because they don't love us, or because they are just plain annoying at times! It's hard to love because it's hard to put your heart out there, to risk not being loved back.
That's where we're wrong.
If we were really meant to live in fear of getting hurt we would never be able to love anyone. It's not us though, it's not our hearts on the line here. It's God's heart through us. We are a way He can express His love for other people.
Sure, there is a level of humility in loving. Not wanting to love someone because they've hurt you, for example. But that's the thing, it's not my heart, it's God expressing His heart through me. When this divine act of love teleportation takes place we feel it too, obviously, because it's through us.
How do we get this kind of love shock flowing through us? Exactly my question. Good thing I paid attention on Sunday. The pastor said this:
Step 1: Understand how much God really loves you.
Let me ask you this. Do you really understand how much God loves you? I don't think there is anyone who can answer Yes to that. But it might be possible for us to get a better understanding, one that fills the confines of our earthly minds.
So let that be your prayer this week. To really understand how much your Heavenly Father loves you.
P.S. If anyone needs scripture references, you can email me or facebook me. :)