Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Back to the real world

  I spent last Wednesday evening through Sunday morning at a conference at a Christian conference center. I went there discouraged and feeling empty. Being there 4 nights and 3 full days was like Heaven on earth, and I don't say that lightly. The conference center is a huge Christian-owned and run place in the mountains of North Carolina. Just being there in the quiet with other Christians is a great experience in itself. To hear no cursing, see no bad attitudes..... one almost feels like they are on holy ground.

  Then add the conference. God was in every service. I didn't get into the worship times a lot.... I am not used to standing for so long, to have loud music that I don't know..... but you could still tell God was there. People may worship in different ways than I do, and with different music than I do, but God still comes...... and He stayed.

  I got so much during the conference. Speakers in the general sessions, testimonies, workshops, chatting with others during meals and in between the workshops and services...... being able to be me. I am not knocking my church, as most churches are the same, but I feel I received more help and encouragement in 3 1/2 days there than I get in a year in church. And a lot of it had to do with being around men and women not afraid to be real. A lot of it was because I was around others with the same struggles and issues I have. There was no fear of condemnation, no fear of people finding out your secret, for we were all there for the same reason..... and I believe when we are honest and open and don't have to put masks on and pretend, God comes and moves. I left the conference a different man than when I went. I left feeling closer to God, feeling loved and accepted by Christian brothers and sisters and by God. And I left what felt like a big slice of Heaven and came back to the real world.

  I had yesterday off and took tomorrow off to have a longer vacation, but tomorrow I really go back to the real world: work, getting up too early, impatient patients at the hospital, hearing cursing and people taking God's name in vain..... and more. I already am wishing I was back at Ridgecrest and back with the friends I have made in that wonderful Heaven-like atmosphere. But I have to go out and make money. I have to go back to the real world. But I don't have to go back to being discouraged and empty. I can go back with this new-found hope and encouragement.

  It would be great if we could live in environments like I just left, but we can't...... not while we are here on earth, We have to be salt and light. We have to live among those who have no interest in this God we serve. We can't just live with those of like-minded faith in a Christian atmosphere.

  So tomorrow I will get up early, eat breakfast, get ready for work, and drive 32 miles to work for 8 hours in the "real" world. But this Jesus who lives in my heart will be with me and help me to face whatever the day and the devil throws my way. I don't belong in that world, but until I leave it one way or another, I must live here from day to day, and especially enjoy the blessings such as I experienced this past week-end.

  God isn't just God at a Christian conference or even at church. He doesn't just speak to us and draw close on those occasions, though those are times when it does seem He draws especially close.... He can speak to us in our every day grind at work, and everywhere. We can draw close to Him anywhere. Maybe it is a good thing we have to deal with the real world. If every day was like this past week-end, I wouldn't want to leave this world. Heaven wouldn't look that much more good, and I'd be happy and content here. But every day isn't like that, and Heaven looks so much far beyond what we have here that I don't want to stay here. I want to go home, for I don't belong here. But no matter where I go, I can take God with me.......... and that is even better than being at a Christian conference.


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