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  #41  
Old 06-01-2007, 07:46 PM
Michlow Michlow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoredOutOfMyMind View Post
WOW!

This is powerful!
Honestly, it makes me cry every time I read it! I was never able to articulate it before, and now that I have, every time I read it I am filled with the desire to find it.
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  #42  
Old 06-01-2007, 07:47 PM
Michlow Michlow is offline
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Originally Posted by Blubayou View Post
You have set the standard high. I hope you find a church like this - When you do, tell me so I can attend!!!!
Sadly, I don't think it exists, but now that I know what I am longing for, maybe I can pray it into existance!
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  #43  
Old 06-01-2007, 10:04 PM
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Sherri Sherri is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michlow View Post
Honestly, it makes me cry every time I read it! I was never able to articulate it before, and now that I have, every time I read it I am filled with the desire to find it.
Come visit me in Jackson. You would love our church, I promise.
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  #44  
Old 06-01-2007, 11:18 PM
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rgcraig rgcraig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michlow View Post
Written on a different forum, something that I have never been able to articulate before today.

What I am looking for in a church:

I want something transparent and real, something deep and meaningful. A meeting of believers, who though they are in different stages of the journey are nevertheless, equals; a group that submits to one another, not to just one, who in turn submits to no one. A group that can disagree without judgment, and be different yet still united. A place where the Word is discussed not “taught” and where love is practiced, not preached. A place where His kingdom is sought, not the kingdoms of men, of money, of success.
Ump? Wonder if this might be the church God inspires for us to have?
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  #45  
Old 06-03-2007, 08:44 AM
Michlow Michlow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherri View Post
Come visit me in Jackson. You would love our church, I promise.
Sherri, I would LOVE to do that! But it would make for a pretty long commute!
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  #46  
Old 06-03-2007, 09:04 AM
Michlow Michlow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgcraig View Post
Ump? Wonder if this might be the church God inspires for us to have?
Is that it? Is that why I so desperately long for it? And why I am so horribly dissatisfied with the status quo?

I was sharing this with my husband this morning, and we had a good discussion. I talked about the issues that I have been having lately, the struggles to find the real God. About how I had been taught things that were just plain distorted and how now I am finding it difficult to trust anyone or anything. And how it can all be summed up in one phrase "I believe Jesus is God...the rest is negotiable."

I talked about how I was thinking of looking for a different church, but how the whole thing seemed kind of pointless as much of my problem is with church in general, not just a certain flavor of church.

The conversation ended with us deciding to just take the dream and rather than sitting around waiting for it, to try it ourselves. So we have wonderful "church" this morning. In our pajama's, while eating breakfast.

We each chose a worship song (Him: Michael W. Smith's "Let it Rain" Me: Darlene Czech "Shout to the Lord" )

We decided arbitrarily to start in Romans. Our only goal was to read as best as we could with no preconceived notions and without filtering it through everything we had already been taught. Which is hard to do! It was kind of like picking up a Bible for the first time.

I was a little nervous through Romans 1 & 2, it was very much about the law, and being judged based on following it and being punished for sin. And my old perfectionist "earn your own salvation" tendencies threatened to pop back out. But I said to Matt "He seems to be going somewhere with this, lets keep going (originially we were only going to do a chapter or two).

But the end of Chapter 3 made the point nicely.

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses[i] and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. 30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.
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  #47  
Old 06-25-2007, 07:50 AM
Michlow Michlow is offline
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So I decided to visit the church of one of my fellow AFF'ers this weekend. Bro. Tatum (ChTatum)'s church is a little over an hour to the east of me.

I tried to get my husband to come along by telling him that I was going to meet a guy named Chuck that I met on the internet. He was all and said "I think I should come along with you". However, I finally took pity on him and told him that "Chuck" was actually a Pastor and that I was going to visit his church, at which point my husband predictably said "oh, then you can go by yourself"

So I braved the early morning hours and dragged myself out of bed. The drive was actually very peaceful and serene. I had never been that far east before, and very much enjoyed the lack of crowds and traffic.

When I got to the church, I happened to run into Bro. Tatum right away. He introduced himself and shook my hand and I gave him my full name. I was thrown off when he identified himself by the lack of the full beard that I am used to seeing in his picture here on AFF. (He currently has a goatee) And as I had never told him specifically when I was planning on visiting, my name didn't ring any bells with him.

So I tracked him down again and said 'I'm sorry but the lack of beard threw me off" At which point he was like "I'm sorry, have we met before?"

They had a very nice church, the sanctuary part is refurbished, but built in the 20's (I think he said?). The first church that I attended was in a 100 year old building, and so my first thought on walking into the sanctuary was that it "smelled like church". It always amazes me how our memories are tied to our senses.

I was very disappointed however as I did not see one woman wearing a tube top! No hotpants either! And none of them looked like Tammy Faye Bakker or Jan crouch! (Though I HAVE been sworn to secrecy regarding the color of shirt that Bro. Tatum wore under his jacket :sshhh I was asked specifically to keep this information from Bro. Epley )

There was a wonderful move of God during the worship service, when a young man sang the Casting Crowns song "Praise you in this storm". And then Bro. Tatum preached a message on the Seeds in the various grounds (See, I EVEN listened )

And to top it all off, during his message he even specifically mentioned baptizing a certain way, and receiving the Holy Ghost. Which blew the theory that when standards go, so does doctrine, right out of the water. (In fact, truth be told, there were some women there that not stand out at all in your average UPC church)

And then they took me for lunch, where we had some good mexican food, and gossiped, err....I mean prayerfully discussed AFF, and where I found out that Bro. Tatum is more conservative than he comes across. (A fault that I mercifully forgive him for )

All in all, I had a very nice time, and was blessed to have been able to attend and meet the Tatums.
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  #48  
Old 02-22-2008, 12:16 PM
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Re: Mich Has Nothing to Say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michlow View Post
Something I wrote elsewhere:

You are right in saying that I had for a long time a distorted view of God. To me God was always someone who’s approval I desperately needed (because I didn’t want to go to hell!), whose love was conditional (entirely based on if I proved myself worthy) and very unforgiving of less than perfection.

I can’t blame this all on my experiences in the church. Because all the things I wrote above describe perfectly my upbringing by my earthy father. A harsh authoritarian, controlling man for whom nothing was ever good enough. So you could say that I was already well-primed to view God in the same way.

It was actually two weeks ago, that I had a major breakthrough in this area, to understand the breakthrough; I have to give you a little background information.

My husband and I have been together for 10 years, married for 8 ½. I was saved about 6 months after I we got married. I honestly believe that if it were not for that fact, that I would have divorced him a long time ago.

It’s not that I don’t love him, or that he’s a bad person. The main problem is that he has Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is a type of high functioning autism. Without getting into it too in depth, we’ll just say the bottom line is that his brain works differently than ours, and that how he views and relates and interacts with the world around him, is far different than the way that we do. There are many many layers and characteristics that I could describe to try and explain how this affects my life and our marriage, but in the interest of simplicity, I will say only that something like 85% of Aspie marriages end in divorce.

One of the important parts of this is that my husband has difficulty both in maintaining employment, and in handling any sort of responsibility. This puts a lot of pressure on me to keep us afloat financially, as well as handling all of the other household responsibilities.

Anyway, three weeks ago, my husband lost his job, again. Probably the 30th job he has had in the time I have known him. This was actually a record for him. He made it almost a year and a half. The poor guy was afraid to tell me. I am afraid with all the pressure on me; I usually don’t handle the news very well. Though to be honest, each time it gets a little better, and this time, I didn’t even get angry, I just cried for 15 minutes and then started making plans.

However, the next day, I did take the time to vent to a friend, who then proceeded to tell me that I was too young to waste my life on this. That surely God wanted me to have something better. After all wasn’t it more of a sin to be this unhappy? I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t like that, but couldn’t seem to find the words.

A few days later I was doing my daily hour on the treadmill (I often read and pray during that time), and I started thinking about my husband and his job situation. The truth is I have often treated my husband; the same way that I felt my father treated me. Nothing was ever quite good enough. I always KNEW that he could be doing better. If he cleaned the house to “surprise” me, all I ever saw was that he had done it wrong. If he did have a job, he didn’t make enough money. (His last job he worked part time working $600 a month), or he wasn’t working as hard as me, so it wasn’t good enough. Because he was an Aspie, I tried to cut him slack, but to be honest, my true feelings were, if you have a handicap, you simply need to work harder to overcome it.

So as I am on my treadmill thinking about him losing his job again, and his perpetual tardiness that probably was a factor, and this cycle was probably going to repeat itself over and over again. So I am thinking of my husband: he’s not perfect, he messes up a lot, sometimes it’s an accident or out of his control, other times he’s not giving it his full effort, and sometimes he even purposely does something wrong. But regardless of all that, he’s just my husband. And I love him regardless of his problems and his failings, even with knowing that he will most likely always be like this.

And then there came that split second of revelation. Where God speaks to you and in a fraction of a moment suddenly the world around you looks completely different. And in that moment, I saw and understood how God really looks at me. And how he can love me knowing how flawed I am, knowing that I am going to mess up, and keep doing the same stupid things over and over again. And how he might get frustrated with me, but he doesn’t stop loving me. He might want me to become more, but he loves me just as I am. And even if I never change, if I never do better, if I continue to make the same stupid mistakes over and over again, He’s not going to leave me, or reject me or condemn me or cast me aside.

It was amazing.

It's kind of scary to read something written by your own hand and it be so foreign and strike no chord of recognition. Ironically the last part is what people keep trying to get me to believe!
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  #49  
Old 02-22-2008, 12:53 PM
DividedThigh DividedThigh is offline
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Re: Mich Has Nothing to Say...

well mich for someone that has nuttin to say, you said a mouthful, god loves you just like that, god bless you sis, dt
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  #50  
Old 02-22-2008, 12:58 PM
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My Own Eyes My Own Eyes is offline
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Re: Mich Has Nothing to Say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DividedThigh View Post
well mich for someone that has nuttin to say, you said a mouthful, god loves you just like that, god bless you sis, dt
Thanks Bro.
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