Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Consistency of His Presence! (Part 1)

I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church complete with potlucks and Vacation Bible School and church camps. In my early 20s, I joined a Wesleyan church. That particular church had a huge singles group, so I guess my motivation was to find Mr. Right. I spent 9 wonderful years there and went on a life-changing mission trip to Russia with that denomination. Soon after I left, I met my husband and joined his church, a Four Square Church. Next we joined a Calvary based church called Journey, a fantastic church in San Diego. Next we joined a small nondenominational church and helped in leadership. That experience hurt us deeply (a story way too familiar in Christianity) and we decided to attend a Baptist church near our home to heal our wounds. After moving to Denver, we attended my brother's church, Southeast Community Church in Parker and loved it, but it was just too much of a drive. So we joined Jubilee, a Charasmatic church and attended for two great years. Six months ago, we decided to begin attending Cherry Hills Community Church, a Presbyterian church, which we currently love.


What a church history, right? Southern Baptist, Wesleyan, Four Square, Calvary, Nondenominational, Charasmatic and now Presbyterian.

You might be thinking a) Robbie, are you a religious schizophrenic? Or b) Robbie, do you have a fear of church committment?  :0)

I have friends who have faithfully attended the same church for decades and I think that is absolutely swell. The church I grew up in will always be special to me. So many folks poured into my life and the lives of my friends. It is a priviledge to have that kind of longevity at the same place.

But for many different reasons, God has led us to attend a bunch of different types of churches. Sometimes I wish that Noah could have grown up in the same church, but that has not been our story. The current church we attend is absolutely wonderful and I hope that we will stay there through Noah's graduation. Not the one from elementary school in 3 weeks, but his graduation from high school. :0)

I sat in church last Sunday and witnessed a choir of 150 people and an orchestra of about 50 lead us in worship. I cried. The majesty of sound was incredible! And as I sang I thanked God for a huge Presbyterian church that treated me to a taste of what the angels in heaven might sound like. But my next thought was to also say thanks for the little Baptist church I grew up in, with a choir of 20, all of whom I knew well, and the hymns I still sing to myself when I do the dishes or swing on the porch. I thanked God for the worship band in that Charasmatic church that thrilled me and caused a little Joy Dance of the soul. I thanked God for that Four Square church, where 1 woman and a piano led us to the throne of God each Sunday.

Bottom line is this: denominations are different, God is the same. Worship Styles are different. But Jesus hangs out in all of them, drawing anyone who will humbe themselves, to Him and His love and grace. Churches are different. God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the same.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

(Part 2 on Thursday)


Jan Parrish said...

This is so good, Robbie. We are all one body who loves Jesus. We have different styles of worship, but in the end, we are all a part of the body of Christ.

Robbie Iobst said...

Jan, I agree wholeheartedly! Thank you for being my sister in the body of Christ! :0)

Mary said...

Amen and amen!

Robbie Iobst said...

Thank you Mary!

Cheryl Barker said...

So good to know that we can worship and serve God anywhere, huh?

Robbie Iobst said...

Cheryl, it is wonderful. I love, love, love not having a prejudice I used to have against other denominations. Freedom of Christ's love!