I was in church the other day and was thinking about how my 47 years within the independent Christian Church family in Oklahoma has shaped my view. I was also thinking about highly enriching visits I had made to other churches such as the local St. Elijah’s Orthodox Church or St. Mary’s Church in Oxford. Then my mind flipped over to a conversation I had with a family member about the “church within which my daughter was getting married.” They were surprised it wasn’t our home church, the one in which she was raised. I wasn’t surprised at all, however, because she is my daughter. God is bigger than one church (I John 3:20) and is realized in more than one way (Psalms 8), and His church is bigger than my church (Acts 13). My younger daughter visited a church this past Sunday that meets in the old Will Rogers Theater on Classen Boulevard. She said it was a good visit, and they had a lot to offer the age group of which she is a part. I don’t worry about the kids finding God…I know they will, wherever they end up worshiping.
As I was sitting there in church, however, lost in my own thoughts I noticed that there are parts of our service which “feel” right to me. I’m more able to pray or worship when particular traditions are carried out, and less able when others are performed as part of the service. Then I looked down the row at all the people sitting there. How do THEY worship? How do they pray? I don’t know. I know that some of my best worship experiences have been outside of central Oklahoma. And, for some reason, the place in which I seem to be able to connect with God the best in prayer is on my knees, in the prayer chapel sitting on the Lifechurch.TV campus in Edmond. It doesn’t matter…I suppose there are meanings, moments, feelings and places where each person has better “in-tuned” experiences with God than others. Those are mine…what are yours?
But most importantly, I wonder, how is it that we live? Do we carry out our worship and prayer into our lives? Are there better “places” we can live for God than others? I won’t be able to always pray in the prayer chapel, and I won’t be able to always fly to Oxford just to sit through a worship service or sermon because that fits with me. And, I don’t really have a choice most of the time about where I go to lead my daily life. And, it follows that I must live for God regardless of whether I’m in the best fitting place for me. And I must find him in worship regardless of whether I’m in the right location for what makes me feel best. And I must be Him for those around me, regardless of whether they “feel comfortable” to be around…or not.
So, my thought for you today is first: How do you worship, how do you pray, and and how do you live?…most comfortably? And the follow up is: Regardless of those comforts or best fits being absent, how can you worship, pray and live…despite your comfort level? I would imagine that if I, or you, are not UNcomfortable a good percentage of the time, then we’re not stretching ourselves very much…and we’re certainly not being God to new people or sharing God in new experiences.
Identify your comfort, then define your discomfort…and…make sure you’re spending time in both. Good luck!