Monday, September 8, 2008

Wings to Fly 25 - My Christian Walk

Wings to Fly - Index

As I am considering my Christian walk, I am so thankful that I am here today. I just came home from a bible study with my neighbor, Deb and her friends. There were seven women. This is the first time I am in an on-going study started out by someone else other than those from my church. Such dear women and their pursuit to live Christ touches me deeply.

I am thinking of the last pot luck we had at Lizy's school. There was prayer before the meal. This would be very foreign practice in Chicago. I am starting to see God and His family much differently. He is working in so many people's lives to bring them together, to honor Him, to serve Him, yet in a profound way to take care of us to head up His plan.

I am considering our little church life here in Goshen. There are about dozen of us meeting. There were about forty in the gathering, before we moved here in 2006. There were something brewing for about two years in this small gathering. I hear that a couple from Southern California training center moved here few years before we came here. They realized that those in Goshen did not follow the program of the ministry that flowed from the west and tried to create the acceptable way to meet according to Southern California church leaders. Thus began the winds of unrest and questioning towards the local leadership here which eventually ended up dispersing the small congregation. Those members were blown and scattered in the wind leaving just a handful. This couple then moved back to southern California.

In this backdrop, we moved here. We were comfort to those remaining believers. Our little gatherings are so different than what I was used to in Chicago. As we go through a book in the bible, we all participate in a very different way. In the beginning I was not used to exercising my understanding. Everyone participated in the discussion. To my amazement, I am seeing the same verse or chapter in a new light. I recall that our meetings in Chicago, we would read the ministry material of respected leader's exposition and we discuss about it at the end. What contrast.

I am also thinking of Paul and Mary. They lived such sincere serving life in the local church in Streamwood. When they moved to Tennessee, they went to same local church that is the extension of Streamwood and Chicago. They were so willing to jump in and serve as they did in Streamwood. The local believers in that congregation had no heart to include all other dear Christians as joint partakers of God's riches. Yet they were sweet people. Out of the sense of being in a straight jacket, Paul and Mary left.

They found a church home with a vibrant Jesus loving group. This group began just one year prior to their moving with less than ten people. They hit one-hundred members the year Paul and Mary joined them. Today, three years later, they are three-hundred. Mary says she loves the church, the members, and the gathering. When they get together they enjoy being together so much so that they do not want to part. Out of the abundance of joy, increase occurred. Her understanding of God's family expanded.

I am considering, it was thirty years ago, maybe before that, we in the local church movement was increasing like that. I remember the joy of the Lord. Our enjoyment of Christ was infectious. Increase was happening and we didn't know where they came from. We were so free to love Christ and I was enveloped in God's love. As the years came and went, somehow our liveliness and vibrancy started to die out. Trying to live a very high doctrine, somehow lost me and in the process lot of wrong concepts filled me. Once we have tasted something so precious, we were still clinging to hope that this vibrant God will be real and living once more. Now I realize it is not God who has lost the vibrancy. It's us that has become old and embraced a teaching more than the Person of Christ.

These days I see Tom, enjoying the freedom in Christ. I am discovering who I am and who God is. I see the expanded view of God's family and I come to Jesus in gratitude. Everything needed to happen. When the leading brothers from Southern California quarantined a brother in the Midwest because he did not fit into their teaching and demand, it became clear. We could not be one with such group of leaders.

It is so good for us to move and to discover who we are. Tom knew he had to leave Chicago if he was to serve the God. He needed to have freedom to hear God's voice. I reluctantly followed him. Yet today, I am happy to be here. I am discovering more of me everyday. I am discovering God and who He is every day.

It seems amazing that for me all the teachings, regardless how deep and high they were, cannot be compared to simple love for Christ and His Word. I am also experiencing God digging out of me from the crevices of my heart, the fears and the wrong beliefs about Him. Each time He does that, the freedom, and the joy is experienced.

I would like to visit Tennessee and find out what they are doing to have such abundant fruit, which is the expression of God's enjoyment manifested.