When I was up in Canada I went to my in-laws’ church. It’s a denomination that is very different than what I’m used to. It’s not a church I would normally choose to attend. Every time that I enter into a church that’s like this I always try to keep myself open to hear from God.
This particular Sunday the message was on
Matthew 1:20 (NIV)But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
I began to think about this story as the message continued. Joseph had been making his own plans to put Mary away peacefully once he learned she was pregnant and obviously he knew he wasn’t that baby’s daddy. He started to make his own plans. If you read in the context, Joseph wasn’t going to raise this child. But God intervened and gave him a dream telling him basically that Mary was telling the truth and for him to continue to take Mary as a wife.
I started to think how funny that was, and how God does that sometimes. He’ll let us form our own thoughts, make up our plans and then tell us which way to go. It gave me a moment of pause and great encouragement because as I was thinking about this I realized that in some choices Dan and I are making if we weren’t on the right target, God would have revealed it to us. It gave me great encouragement to yet again realize that we must be hearing from God on some matters because we were still getting a green light.
God was “speaking” to me and I was in a church that most people in my circles wouldn’t think He “spoke” in.
What’s my point? God can speak to us no matter where we are. I don’t need to be in a church with 5 prophets every moment. The spirit of the Lord dwells on the inside of me, and we all can hear from God.
Too often we set behind our denominational (or non-denominational) walls and hide. We think we have all the answer and anyone who isn’t under our label does not. That is so sad!
Paul says it best in this scripture.
1 Corinthians 1:10-17 (The Message)10I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I'll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. 11-12I bring this up because some from Chloe's family brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you're fighting among yourselves! I'll tell you exactly what I was told: You're all picking sides, going around saying, "I'm on Paul's side," or "I'm for Apollos," or "Peter is my man," or "I'm in the Messiah group." 13-16I ask you, "Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul's name?" I was not involved with any of your baptisms—except for Crispus and Gaius—and on getting this report, I'm sure glad I wasn't. At least no one can go around saying he was baptized in my name. (Come to think of it, I also baptized Stephanas's family, but as far as I can recall, that's it.) 17God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words.
So the next time you get invited to a church, as long as Christ is the foundation of that ministry and they haven’t gotten off, then maybe just maybe God can speak to you there too. Maybe just maybe the whole body of Christ needs to start recognizing that we are all the body, and stop trying to fight against each other. We all can learn from each other.