Not So Fast!
The Perfect Church
My husband and I have visited quite a number of churches over the years. One particular church made us feel so at home that we thought it was the perfect church for us.
Everyone was welcoming, the sermons were deep and meaningful (which can be a rarity these days!), and even more astounding was that we agreed with each belief the church was founded on. We had high hopes that such a church would bless us, re-energize us, and help us grow closer to God.
The Disappearing Lady
One Sunday, we met a couple of people before the service - a man and a woman. Impressed by their friendliness, we thought we would talk to them over tea & coffee after the service. But just as the service was coming to an end, we noticed that the woman quickly bolted for the door, and then she was gone! So, we talked just to the man. He was so lovely that we decided to invite him to lunch in two Sundays' time (because he was going to be away the following Sunday). We extended the invitation to the woman too, and asked if the man could pass on our invitation to her, which he agreed to do.
The following Sunday, the man was not there as expected, but the woman was there amongst the crowd. We thought we must try to speak to her to confirm our invitation to lunch. But just as the service was finishing, she bolted for the door again, and disappeared. We tried to run after her, but she was nowhere to be found; she was just too quick for us!
The following Sunday, we saw both at the service, we were so looking forward to having lunch with them. But just as the service was finishing, the woman bolted for the door again! I ran to the man and told him that we were supposed to have lunch together. The man quickly called the woman on the phone and managed to get her in time before she drove off. The woman came walking back into the church explaining that she had thought the lunch was on a different Sunday.
We had lunch at our house where the four of us fellowshipped, getting to know one another better. They both shared their testimonies of how they came to know Jesus. They also spoke about the dreams they had over the years that they did not know the meaning of. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to interpret the dreams for them. They were amazed at the messages that God was trying to tell them through their dreams. The glints in their eyes showed just how excited they were with their newfound revelations and purpose in life. I, too, got to share my testimonies of my baptism stone and the ministry God had called me into - the ministry of healing and deliverance. It was a powerful time! Lunch ended many hours later.
The Phone Call
The next day, I was surprised to receive a phone call from the woman. She told me that she had planned to leave the church, but that now she was confused. Having met my husband and I, she no longer knew what she should do as she rather liked us. I was quite shocked to hear this, so I invited her over for a chat.
The Not So Perfect Church?
When the woman arrived, she told me of her plan to leave the church - the Sunday we had lunch was actually going to be her last Sunday there. I was sad, but inquisitive - why would she want to leave such a perfect church? She then started to share with me all the bad things about the church. She told of how she was discriminated against, how people disliked her, and stifled her opportunities to serve the church, etc. This was why she always bolted for the door after the service, she had no desire to mingle and fellowship with others. She was disillusioned with the church.
My heart sank as I was hearing all these things, but I was adamant that I would stay put at the church, and not be put off. I was going to form my own opinion, and perhaps help improve the church in their weak areas.
An Unexpected Deliverance
After some time talking about the church, she then turned to talk about her personal need for deliverance. She has had a long-standing issue for many decades that she had never been able to resolve, and asked if I could help her. One hour later, after some work on healing her heart, I was commanding a bunch of demons to leave. They manifested big time, and after fighting for a while, they all left. The countenance of her face became bright, she was gleaming with smiles, overjoyed at what the Lord Jesus had done for her. She was free, a different person to the one who arrived!
When I next saw her at church, she ran up to me full of joy, telling me how things have changed for her since the session. Everyone in the church were now really kind and loving towards her; no more discrimination! She was also surprised to feel so much love for people in return, and realising that she was now looking at each person through the eyes of God, rather than her own eyes. God has also started to wake her up at 3am (instead of the usual 4am) to worship Him, to read His word, and to pray to Him before beginning her working day (8am - 5pm). Consequently, her relationship with the Lord had become more intimate. It was also a surprise to her that she would last the day without feeling one bit tired as she normally would be. She was being re-energized and refreshed by the Lord daily.
We chatted more and she told me how she now realised the church is the body of Christ and that she should not be critical of it, but rather work to help, to build and to love each person in it. She repented of all these sins that had now become so obvious in her eyes. Then finally, she said a sentence that blew my mind away: "All the problems I had before with the church was not the church, it was me!"
Wow!! what a revelation, one that filled my heart with joy - for her and for the church. Praise the Lord! It just goes to show how demonic influence could negatively affect perceptions, attitudes, and the behaviour of a person.
It has now been several weeks, and I am still witnessing the impact and transformation taking place in the woman's life. She no longer bolts for the door at the end of each service, but she now stays, and is even serving the church - not in one or two, but in three different areas - with joy and happiness. Her servant heart has now given her the humility to serve the church wherever she is needed because of her love for the body of Christ and for the Lord. There is no sign of leaving - she has decided to stay. Hallelujah!
My Own Revelation
As much as my husband and I were happy and felt very privileged to be part of the woman's journey, we have also learnt a beautiful lesson from the Lord. We were out looking for the perfect church which could refresh, re-energize, and bless us. But no, God showed us instead that we need to be vessels for Him in whichever church He sends us to. God wants to use us to be the ones to refresh, re-energize, bless, and bring people closer to Him; snatching them from going astray. To this day, we are astounded by the way and the timing in which God used us to help the woman; even on the day that she had planned to be her last Sunday! As fast as she could bolt for the door, she was still not fast enough to avoid the Lord. Indeed, my concern for the woman bolting out of the door was evidently Holy Spirit-inspired. Praise be the Lord!
11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12-28
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.