While we were away on this recent trip, someone, and I cant remember who or where, said that (and this is a paraphrase) its sad because church is suppose to be where you can take off your face, and be who you are.  But instead it’s a place where people seem to be more interested in dressing up, putting on their “Sunday Best” and pretending like everything is just fine in the world.

And its true.  Sad.  Very sad.  But true.  So very true.

Ive talked to a number of people, or heard stories from people, who from their younger days of being forced to go to church, and deal with people who thought they knew so much better, that they have now turned their backs to God.

And its sad.  It really is when you think about it.  That because of Church, something that is suppose to bring people closer to God, is turning people away faster than they can come in.  Something isn’t right.

I didn’t really put a finger on it, until we went over seas, and the church over there, welcomed us with open arms.  And not in a way that made you feel like you were doing something horrible, and everyone would gather in a group discussing your sins amongst themselves sort of way.  They welcomed us and made us really feel like we were part of them.  Even though they didn’t know who we were, where we came from, or what we were doing there.  And believe me.  People wondered.  Why there.

People invited us to their houses, and not just so they had something to gossip about at their next “Group meeting” they invited us over, and again, welcomed us as if we were part of them.  Their smaller family, the same way they welcomed us to their church.  Like we were part of them.

And it was so refreshing.  So nice.  Something I have never ever experienced before.

Coming from a church, where don’t get me wrong, loves God, and preaches the word, but tends to gear towards “I living a perfect life” sort of look.  And everyone shows up on Sunday decked in their best Sunday pants, wearing their happy faces and life is good all week long sort of smile.

When in reality someone inside is falling apart.  Their lives are wrecked, and they are coming to church to seek God, and instead of being able to fall apart, they are instead forced to suck it up, and face yet another game of “Im doing great.”

Church, in my opinion, is quickly becoming something other than about God.

Somehow, I think, people have placed appearance, above the person.

That if your saved, if your truly walking with God, if you have the right relationship with Him, and you pray and read your Bible, that your life will be hearts and flowers and everything else from then on out…

And Im here to say that people, this isn’t true.

That just isn’t how it works.

God saved me.  And maybe he save you, or He is going to save you.  I don’t know.  That isn’t up to me.  But what Im saying is, just because you believe in God, you have placed you life in His hands, and trusted Him with your future, your life, your eternity…your life isn’t going to be perfect, your finances wont sort themselves, and your car wont drive you to work by itself.

Atleast, that hasn’t happened to me.

Im still a sinner.  A sinner, saved by grace, and while that should be enough, I find myself searching for more.  For bigger better.  I find myself sneaking away from the truth, and leaving my rightful position at Gods feet, and running off for that tempting slice of sin that at the time looked so good.

I go to church, but church doesn’t and hasn’t and wont save me.  It wont forgive me.  It wont make me a better person.

Church wont do anything for me.  Except teach me (I hope) Gods word and as a result bring me closer and closer to Him.

Im still human, believing in God hasn’t changed that.  Im still a sinner, and yes God saved me.  He took away my sins, but I still sin.  And I still live in a sinful world, with other sinners, who, you may not know, go to the same church I do and have.  You might not know this because people at our church tend to walk around with that “I have a perfect life” and maybe they do.  I don’t know.  If they do, then good for them.  God has blessed them.  But for me, I don’t.

I still struggle.

I need to constantly be forgiven.  To be saved.  To be corrected.  Again and again and again.

I need to be crushed and broken, and be brought back to the cross where only Gods grace can save me.

I need God.  I need Jesus.  I need forgiveness.

…and I don’t know about you, but I need to fall apart sometimes.

Because my life isn’t perfect, and my actions don’t always show that I have been saved.  My attitude doesn’t always reflect the things it should, and I let a word slip here and there.

I miss the church in England.  I miss the people there.  I miss being able to be who I was, and not have to worry about someone trying to dress me up in my “Church costume.”  I miss being able to come; just as I am.

But I can still do that.  Because church is just a building, filled with people, who are sometimes the most awesome people you will meet, who struggle just like you – like it or not – But God is always there.  He is always here.  Saving me.  Forgiving me.  Correcting me.

He isn’t limited to the building.  He isn’t bound by earthy limitations.

…and when I feel trapped, and held back, and limited by all that I can do, when I have reached the end…I know that His work, has just begun.

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