Monday, September 27, 2004
There's a real first contact. I had mine in 1971 when a friend introduced me to Jesus, by the example of his life and by being persistent. I drifted away from Jesus but kept the friendship.
Last year I got a second chance. God Himself synchronized events so that I'd end up visiting a church called Mosaic.
In that first celebration I saw a God who was much different from the judgmental, demanding one I'd known earlier. I'd gotten hints back then that there was more to Him than was being presented to me, but I weighed the evidence and people's words were heavier than God's. Weight isn't truth. At Mosaic God was living and watching them, encouraging the people to live fully. This is a demanding lifestyle, but God provides the resources so it seemed possible to me. The people demonstrated this. None of them appeared to be laboring under a heavy yoke, and they all knew God was doing great things.
I joined the team--they said they'd welcome me, no matter where I was on my spiritual journey--and discovered first-hand how powerful God is.
Mosaic moved out of Beverly Hills at the end of April. I thought about alternatives and have been looking for another church, one closer to home so that I can be more of a participant.
What makes a good church? I've had to learn this. I pretty much fell out of the sky and landed on Mosaic's doorstep. This time it's necessary to be more deliberate, so I've had to think about it.
What do I want? A place to belong, a place where I can do something to help. A place that honors God and where He is present all the time. A place where God is an active participant in the goings-on. One question I ask myself when I'm at a new church is whether what I experienced there would have brought me back to God: Can He be seen clearly enough in the church's activities that I'd have recognized Him?
As I was sitting at Metro Church yesterday I was thinking about this. Metro is quieter than Mosaic; not so much fizz and spark. I think I needed Mosaic-style fizz and spark to get through the thick layers of fog I'd wrapped around myself. Now my needs are different. Second contact has been made. I need to grow. I know God is there. I'm not sure Metro would have penetrated the fog, but they certainly feed the man under the fog.
This probably suits both churches. Mosaic is aggressively evangelistic by design and purpose. Seeking and saving that which is lost is their reason for being, and this is pursued every Sunday.
Metro is also evangelistic. Their approach, however, is different, their focus wider. Ultimately all mature Christians are good evangelists. Metro is interested in maturity, so they pursue this and know that God will take care of the details. He will provide the vision if the ground is well tilled, deep, watered and weeded.
I don't know if Metro would have hooked me as Mosaic did. I might have just sat there and watched the whole boatload of fishermen just pass on by. Mosaic demanded a response; God was presented in a way that I couldn't ignore. I'm sensitive, but still doubt that I'd have recognized God's power at Metro.
I'm a year older, and have some experience now with how God works. I recognize His handiwork in Metro's operations. God used Mosaic's people to change me, and those changes have made me more able to live with Jesus. I'm even beginning to trust Him that there will be no need for a third contact.