Our church has been unsettled.
Our worship pastor changed the style of music we're all used to. There have been so many staff members and pastors that have left recently; one felt called to another church, one retired, another left to take care of a family member... the reasons have been good ones but all this change has caused pain and confusion among the congregation.
Our pastor has been receiving texts, emails and letters filled with suggestions on how to get this person back or how to fix this situation. He could tell we were 'unsettled'. When he used that word, it resonated within each of us. It's exactly how we feel.
This nation seems unsettled. In fact, the whole world seems to be in a place of turmoil.When you go to church, you expect to find a place of peace and joy. But that wasn't the case at our church.
When the old testament church was feeling unsettled, the priests tore their robes and called for all of Israel to fast and pray. So our pastor called us to a week of prayer and fasting. Except for our food and clothing bank, all other activities were cancelled. He felt led to have prayer twice a day, once at 6AM and again at 7PM. He told us later that he would be happy if 50 people showed up that first morning.
Some people fasted food the entire week. Others turned off the TV. For
me, I fasted social media. I can spend hours scrolling through Facebook
posts or looking through Pinterest ideas for my house or yard. For that
week, when I would usually be on the computer, I would go into my
bedroom (often called your Prayer Closet or, taking from the new movie, the War Room) and I would pray. For me, for my family, our church, for this
As our senior pastor pulled into the left turn lane that first morning, he waited. And
waited. As car after car after car pulled into the parking lot. He was
overwhelmed when he walked into the Sanctuary and saw 200-300 people
ready to call on the name of the Lord! At 6 in the morning!
We cried out to God, confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness. People would go to the microphone and pray whatever was on their hearts. We prayed for families, for the youth of America, for teachers and for our government. Our hearts were softened to our sin, our grumbling and our lack of trust. People wept and they changed.
After a few days, the prayers began to change from repentance to gratefulness. We began to thank the Lord for all He's done for us. For His grace and mercy. We thanked Him for our church and for the freedom we have in this nation to worship Him freely and without fear.
I can truly say we are a changed people. We realize that through all the changes our church has been through - God is still on the Throne. None of the things happening at our church have taken Him by surprise. We still have a calling to pray, to worship and to serve the community. That hasn't changed. God has a plan for each of us - that hasn't changed. We need to trust Him, and remember that He loves us with an everlasting love.
That will never change.