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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)

TITLE: The Kick of Love
By Dianne Janak
12/10/07


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Ok, this is confession time. I need an attitude adjustment. Iím guilty of doing the very thing Iíve warned others not to do.

Complaining comes easy to me, even if I try hard to have an outer appearance of piety. I can smile sweetly, laugh appropriately, and even extend a helping hand when all the while my heart is hurt, angry, and seething that other Christians just are not hitting the mark.

My new church is my testing ground, and so far, I see I failed the test. Instead of being thankful to God for all the wonderful aspects of my new church family, I am comparing them to my former church and find it coming up short. They donít do communion monthly? Whatís wrong with them? They donít have a paid position for womenís ministry? Why is that not important to them? They have no organized ministry for newcomers? How do they expect us to feel welcome and keep coming back?

I had a list a mile long that was causing me to dream about going somewhere else. You know, find the perfect church. I wanted a place to fill my needs, to be open and accepting of me for who I am, not for who Iím not, a place that does things the ďright wayĒ, and appreciates the gift they have that I have come to them now to help them improve their defects. I wanted some kind of proverbial red carpet of honor to punctuate my appearance and show others how blessed they are to have me. I would be really annoyed with me if I were them.

My desire now is to walk in the light as He is in the light. I failed the test. Iím not worthy of Godís attention or grace or forgiveness, and yet He gives it to me anyway.

It was time for me to leave one place and come to a new one. I knew that, my friends at the place I left knew that, and yet here, I doubt again. But I was still looking back, instead of relishing in the moment and enjoying Godís goodness.

Church is not set up for my benefit and comfort. Itís not about me at all. Itís a place to worship Him, to learn about Him, to serve Him. In my anger and discomfort, somewhere along the way, I lost track of that. I was worshiping my ministry, and reveling in the wholeness I felt when others recognized my gifts and appreciated me. Now I sit on the pews in a place no one knows me, and feel sorry for myself, for what I left behind. How sad and despicable my heart can so easily become.

God has shown me my selfish heart, and I am broken in disgust. This church is far more concerned with the lost than with older Christian newcomers, and isnít that a good thing?

Instead of being critical about what is not here, and what they do not have, why canít I see what is here and what they do have? A beautiful place to come to worship each week, to hear Godís word preached in a safe atmosphere of love and acceptance, and plenty of opportunities to serve just waiting for my commitment. Why have I been sitting here in judgment wasting Godís precious time?

I think the revelation of my own deficiency that has burned the deepest hole in my soul is remembering how easily I overlooked the newcomers at my last church while looking for my real friends. Seeing someone alone sipping coffee while the rest of us laughed and hugged in our familiar groups would often send a bit of guilt through my heart, but not often enough to stop and leave my comfort zone of familiar friends to go make a new one. How can I judge others for doing the very thing I was guilty of? When was the last time I made room for a new friend, or reached out to another person who was obviously in pain? My own pain and insecurity was screaming at me so loudly I could not hear them.

My time for repentance is over, and the moment has come to get proactive, change my attitude to one of gratitude and see where I can serve God to bless Him and be obedient. This is new day, and He gives me a clean slate.


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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 12/13/07
Very interesting. Never quite heard of this sort of view before. Your title drew me in. Good job.
Joanne Sher 12/15/07
Great title, and a very convicting message. You expressed yourself very well - love the voice.
Jan Ross12/16/07
Great message tucked inside here. This especially spoke to me since we had to move which meant a change of churches. You're so right -- you can look at a new church and see all that's wrong or you can look to see all that's right. There's a powerful lesson here and you handled it well. Great job! Christmas blessings! :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/17/07
This is excellently done. I heard someone say once that if there were a perfect church, they wouldn't let me in. The wake-up of the narrator, along with the humility, is very good.
Lynda Schultz 12/19/07
Ouch! This is a good, swift kickóand a well delivered one. Nice work.
David Butler 12/21/07
I like the honesty and the wisdom expressed here. An example of using soliloquy effectively instead of dialogue. With a longer version of this, dialogue may be needed to break it up a little, and illustrate your point. But this is good.
Beth LaBuff 01/17/08
Dianne -- Every Christian in EVERY church should read this. You've written this perfectly with so much wisdom contained inside. Cute title too. Thanks! :)