Gimme That Old Time Religion

I recently dissected Psalm 69 on a social media post to illustrate the way God uses the ancient Word to speak to us today. The follow up commentary that resulted is expanded below as my thoughts tumbled one into the other. I often pour out my heart to my friends on social media to make a difference for even just one person. For every one person, there are likely a dozen who will renounce the validity of the scriptures. Truth is, if you dive into the scripture, God knows that too. (ref Mark 4:11-12). I wanted to state this upfront for those who will be skeptical.

For Christians, this is ‘Holy Week’ with Resurrection Sunday celebrated by attending their home church, visiting a church of loved ones, or perhaps, seeking to find something more. I wanted to share these thoughts on my blog for those on the fringe—those who want more but aren’t aware there are options that might feed your soul more than the church you may have grown up in or attempted to seek as an adult.

If you are a non-believer or a secret seeker for a deeper relationship with God (secret due to a sort of pride that prevents you from saying aloud you feel a longing), I encourage you to use today’s technology to find the truth that awaits you. Don’t dust off the old copy of the Bible you got for your confirmation or the Precious Moments bible you have from your first communion and try to find the answers by letting the book ‘fall open to where you need it if God really is real’. God doesn’t play games like that. Investigate and search. Go to an online resource and view several versions of the Word to understand the meaning. While it is ancient text, God meant for it to be a manuscript until the end of time.

I can’t do trigonometry in my 40’s having failed basic algebra and geometry in my past. I can’t make informed decisions by listening to just one news source or I too will have a biased opinion. If you want to be informed and educated with your life– why wouldn’t you dive just as deep into your faith as you do other matters? In the great big picture of life, trying to cope using the tools your parents may or may not have provided to you in your youth is like trying to do trig homework without the essential steps to get there. Of course the Word won’t make sense if you pick and choose the parts you want to use. If your parent’s religion didn’t get you where you need to be– go deeper. Don’t worry that you’ll offend them. When y’all get to the end of the story, they will know the truth. Pride is the curse of many things in life and ‘religion’ is a biggie. So many adults simply go to the church they were raised in and it may be traditional (feel good, comfort) or even painful. The topic of painful experiences in a church environment is like opening Pandora’s box… I’ll blog more on that at a later time.

You see, the word ‘Religious’ grates on my nerves. The word religious defines the habits that are often good for us but are often methodical (i.e.: religiously brushing your teeth, using a coaster on your furniture, changing the oil in your car, etc…). You do them because you have to and you know what is best. However, faith cannot be methodical to fully enjoy all its potential. Why do we invest so much in personal trainers? So we can effectively workout to maximize our efforts. Well, going to church isn’t going to grow your faith any more than sitting in a garage is going to make you into a car. It might ‘feel good’ and be the ‘right’ thing to do. And you may absorb some good stuff. Why not go deeper? Unlike a personal trainer, it really is a free offering for the taking. And like I said before, the Creator knew full well that you might reject it when he formed you in your momma’s womb. Here is a challenge for all of the strong-willed, proud and educated. Prove Him wrong.

Dressing up in bonnets and suits is nice. But if you want to experience a true relationship, keep digging. Visit several churches to find one that offers Bible-based truth and a culture that you can fit into. It really is a come as you are party. And it is true, the church has hypocrites just like anywhere else on this planet. It’s filled with humans and humans make bad choices as well as good choices. The community of a Christ-centered church is designed to help us be accountable to one another but more important, to draw us into a closer relationship with Him. No one will ever know your heart like God. No one. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect and that is why he offered us the gift of forgiveness. He knows we are human. He likes us and wants to spend the rest of time with us. What’s holding you back?

The parable below illustrates how the old and the new may not work together. If the old way isn’t drawing you into a meaningful relationship with your Lord, go deeper. Keep seeking…

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16-17

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