On Saturday, it will have been one year since I published episode 121 of the Encouraging Others Through Christ Podcast (Formally known as the About The Church Podcast). The title of that episode was “Not Going To church Anymore.”
Last week, I had received an email from someone that I have come to respect highly over the past several years. In that email he wrote, “No doubt others have asked, but I would love to hear what form your christian life takes now that you have been detached from organized church for a while?”
I took some time to respond to this question this morning. Below is the response that I gave.
You are correct. Several have asked.
In fact, the answer to the question is that several have asked.
It seems that everywhere I go, I've been “asked to give the reason for the hope that I have.”
Over the past twelve months, I've had more than 20 conversations, one on one, with individuals that were between one and four hours in length about what it is like to pursue a relationship with a Heavenly Father outside of guilt ridden, performance based Christianity. Getting to the heart of understanding God's love, grace, and mercy for us. Much of what is covered in EOTC Episode 131.
These conversations have had a profound impact on my life as well as the lives of each of the people that I have had them with. In EVERY circumstance, they brought up the topic and it seems as though God continues to put these people in my path everywhere I go.
Certainly, each time I visit a new city like, (Chicago, IL), (Orlando, FL), (New York City, NY), (Ft. Worth, TX), etc. I seem to get a request from someone who has followed me online who requests to have a private dinner or lunch conversation with me to discuss what it is like to live life outside of the gospel of good works and religious compliance.
These conversations have been a large part of the form my Christian life takes these days.
I spend a great deal of time in more sincere, honest, and heartfelt conversation with God on a regular basis. My “prayer” with God is so much more “real” than it has ever been before. I am finally feeling the “affection” of a loving Father.
Throughout my day, I sense the prompting of the Holy Spirit as I approach decisions that need to be made.
Conversations with my wife and children are downright REAL, AUTHENTIC and have NO PRETENSE. Though I sometimes wonder if we should not have more structured and/or scheduled time for our family to discuss matters of faith, I've not yet been so convicted to do so as to make that happen.
I feel that my Christian life is not too unlike the Christian life as portrayed by Michael Hosea in the fictional story of Redeeming Love. That was a man who worked hard, had family and a few people that he interacted with. He was a man who had certainly heard and followed the voice of God and who wasn't tied to the regular attendance of a local church.
I don't have all this figured out. I don't know if we will always be unplugged from a local church. Then again, I don't know if I'll ever again commit to membership in such an institution as they exist here in the states. At this time, I feel no pressure, at all, to make such a decision either way.
I know that I am on a “journey” and I'm simply taking it day by day. I'm incredibly blessed by those that God does place in my path just at the right times.
It's interesting. It's sometimes scary. However, there is no question that the past year of my relationship with God has been amazing and I wouldn't have traded this experience for the world.
Only God knows where I'll be a year from now.
Thanks for asking!