Welcome to Saturday Share!
The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide a space for regular people to share their real-life encounters with Jesus. It’s about living in the middle – on the way to the finish line. Our stories are not finished and that’s the main point!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… (Hebrews 12:1-2)
I am honored to introduce to you, my feature Saturday Share writer: Julie Dibble
A Different Church, A Different Season
by Julie Dibble
I can’t tell you exactly when the anvil dropped on my soul.
Some days, leaving church I felt drained. Confused, I would pray and hear nothing.
As weeks progressed, a burning, a pit-of-my-soul yearning drew me to visit other churches.
What did I seek?
Not a flashy band.
Not perfect people.
Not proximity to our home.
Not easy street … I wanted to serve Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Not one of the churches I visited felt confirmed by God. I asked Him:
Is it ok to leave my first ever church, where I came to know Jesus?
It is I who saved you.
John 14:6 NLT
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
Is it ok to leave the church to seek spiritual growth in another setting?
The church is my bride, and you are the church.
And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, says the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.
In His sovereignty, He used a friend to lead me. She mentioned an evangelical church that sits about twenty-five minutes from our home.
Their mission statement is powerfully short, All of Life for Christ.
My husband worked the first Sunday I took our boys. Though I felt immediately at home, things looked uncertain as our oldest who is shy did not want to return to the 7th grade group.
“Ok, Braedon, you are bright and can learn along with all the other adults in the main worship service. You can sit with me and dad as long as you stay tuned in to what the Pastor is teaching.”
To my surprise, he agreed. Since then, our son has asked us faith questions and even shared what the pastor said in a sermon with a smile spread across his usually serious face. God is working, hallelujah!
The journey away from a home church can be difficult. Feelings tangle with faith. Relationships are tested and stretched. I pray for hearts laden with guilt and obligation at a particular place of worship. I pray God bring Himself to the center of their souls for praise’s purity.
God will not bless people-pleasing. No matter how hard you engage in His good works, if earning human acceptance is your heart’s motivation, fruitless branches will bend and break.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing.
In this story of leaving the church where my faith was born, I had to lay down guilt and divided loyalties at His feet. I came face-to-face with My Savior who asked these questions:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
It was soon after I surrendered, our new season with God began.
Julie Dibble, MA is a Christian Speaker and Author who is passionate about sharing Jesus’ love and truth. Immersing herself in her fourteenth year of marriage and mothering two boys, Julie drinks only strong coffee. Hiking and prayer help her to stay energized for family and her writing/speaking life.
Julie has two published articles in Purpose Magazine, a story published in a Merry Christmas Moments Collection and is working on her first book.
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