Well our last revival meeting was Friday night and I'm so blown away that it is still just all sinking in. God is so good!! During the meeting one of the brothers testified that he wanted all of the preachers to just ignore whatever pressure is from the world or the pew or anything not directly from God and Preach the truth. I can shout AMEN to that one! I got saved in 1994 and was in a very very liberal non denominational charismatic church. I wasn't fed properly as a baby christian, I was using the wrong translation of the bible, and I was being told outright lies from the pulpit! It's no wonder that for the first several years I was saved I couldn't do anything but stumble around trying to find a definite direction to go in. I was saved by grace, just the same as I am now but I couldn't grow right and what made it worse was that I couldn't figure out why I wasn't growing the way that I thought I should be. Just like feeding a baby junk food will cause them to not grow properly, I was nearly crippled by junk preaching. Not only was I not growing but I wasn't able to be the kind of witness that the Lord would have been able to use to further His kingdom and I was most likely causing other folks to stumble as well.
I did end up leaving that church after nearly 4 years of feeling increasingly more confused. I wasn't exactly sure what it was that was causing me to feel so short circuited but I knew I had to leave that church. I started going to a little country church that was pastored by a really sweet old preacher man who I'm sure in his younger days was full of fire and preached long and hard to his church.....but by the time I met him he was pretty tired and though he read the King James Bible in his service he never told me that I should and he also neglected to explain a whole lot of other stuff to me too. Brother Austin left out a lot of important things in his messages, like how to know for sure that you are saved....that message could sure have helped my husband a long time ago. He could have taught us more about the importance of how you live your day to day life. That preacher never told me an outright lie, but I think that maybe he had just gotten so tired (he was well over 75 at the time) that he succumbed a bit to the pressure from the pew and caved just a bit. He retired from preaching and pastoring that church just a few months after we moved away.
We ended up moving away from that town after just a couple of years in that church and though we visited quite a few churches since then I just never felt the Lord's presence and none of the churches that we visited felt like a place that we should be. They were all full of seemingly nice folks who were friendly enough.....one of them even had a Starbuck's Coffee shop in the foyer so people could sit and visit after the service....but I know the Lord just wasn't in the preaching there. I felt so cut off from what I believed was God's will that I actually began to wonder on a daily basis if there were any churches with preacher's who told the truth and weren't too old or too tired or too afraid of losing favor with the people in the pew to preach. I had almost given up hope of finding a place to grow and had actually started to wither away.....all of those years of being lied to by the preachers and of not being told the truth when they knew it to tell combined with some really bad things happening to me and my family had just started to completely choke my faith out. I could almost physically feel that light inside of me growing weaker by the day. I started to think that if the preachers were lying to me (I didn't know exactly what those lies were but I did know that what they HAD told me wasn't the truth) that maybe it was all just a big fairy tale. I even remember telling the Lord in my prayers for a long time that I really really wanted to keep on believing but that it was just so hard to see a reason to.....and I remember begging Him to help me hold on to whatever shreds of faith I had left.
My husband and I hit some of the hardest times of our life together a year ago this week. I had never ever felt so broken and I know that he had never been so broken. Though my heart was horribly wounded and at the time I questioned my faith harder than ever Troy was finding his. He got saved in February and moved us all to North Carolina less than a month later. We had only been here a week and a half when I was feeling totally overwhelmed with the thought of trying to find a church again, trying to start my life over AGAIN, trying to make myself want to do any of this again. I ended up locked in the bathroom on my knees begging the Lord one more time to please just send me some kind of help to find Him for real....I didn't want anymore lies and I didn't want a fancy show to go to on Sunday and I didn't want a Starbuck's in the foyer.....I just wanted the Lord and someone who could help me learn the right way. Don't you know that I had only been up off of my knees for less than 10 minutes when the doorbell rang.....It was the pastor of our church and one of the preachers from there out visiting. We went to church there that Wednesday, dressed as wrong as could be and carrying the wrong bible but we were there and SO WAS GOD!!!
I'll never forget those first few visits to Little River Baptist Church. I left mad nearly every single time, but I knew I had been in God's house every one of those times too and I knew that no matter how mad I felt I would be going back. Here I am now, tomorrow makes it almost nine months since we first came to this church and I can't imagine not going no matter how tired I am or how late I'm awake in the night......I know now how much I need to be preached to the right way. I know how big of a difference it has made in my life to be told the truth all of the time. I'm not saying that any of the preachers here are mean or hateful about the (sometimes painful) truth, they are all so very full of God's love that the truth is sweeter than any lie I've ever heard. The preaching might make me a little mad from time to time, but these preachers are smart enough to teach me that all that means is that something isn't quite right and I need to pay extra close attention. So I am going to church tomorrow morning and my prayer tonight is Please Please Please PREACH!!!
It breaks my heart now to think of all that those years of lies and false teaching have cost me and my family. It breaks my heart even more to think of all the extra wrongs I've committed thinking they were right. I wonder if those preachers even know that they are preaching lies and teaching such crazy things as what I'd been taught? I wonder if it would make any difference to them at all if they did know? It scares me to death to think that now I'm raising a preacher....oh there aren't even words to say how much that scares me. I don't ever want to see him exposed to that false teaching that nearly ruined my life. I thank the Lord that He saw fit to bring us here and give us a place to grow and learn. We'll be there in the morning sitting in our seats waiting for the preachers to preach!! If you are reading this don't forget to pray for your preacher! It wouldn't hurt a thing for you to pray for all of them.....pray that the right ones will stay that way and the wrong ones will be quieted somehow. There are some who are just too gentle to live among wolves.