It never ceases to amaze me how God changes me. In my life, it seems to be usually complete 180's. I mean, most of the things I am most passionate about I used to be against or opposite of. For example, I was once a dogmatic Arminian legalist, now I would probably consent to death rather than give an inch on the sovereignty of God or any of the other great reform doctrines. And in this case, my view of God's church has dramatically changed.
I was once the bitter, cynical, self-righteous pastor's daughter who saw so much evil in the church that I couldn't forgive and certainly wouldn't have laid down my life for the church. Now I get very upset by any negative, faithless, unloving comments I hear about the church. In this case, I have someone to thank for this change, besides God I mean. God uses people all the time and I think it's o.k. to thank them for their part in the work of God. So thank-you to Dave Fellingham. I've been thinking about how we ended up where we are in life and since we might be going back to where it all started, Dave and Rosie have been in my thoughts more. Over the years I must have thanked God a thousand times for their influence in our lives. Even though we never spent alot of time with them, God used them powerfully .
So this is how it happened. While in Bible College, God convicted me of my bitterness toward the church (that is, the church in general) and I began to forgive and my heart began to soften. When we entered into 'the ministry', my husband as an assistant pastor, me as 'the pastor's wife' (at 20 years old!) it was into the same denomination I grew up in. A congregationally driven (voting) Arminian slanted, entire sanctification (second work where the sin nature is completely irradicated so you sin no more), tongues?not among us church. I had no experience with charismatic things, and I didn't even know what reform doctrine meant. During this year, a small young independent toronto-inspired charismatic church put on a conference in town at a larger charismatic church. Since I knew the church was charismatic, I decided to go thinking "maybe there will be some good worship". God was already revealing grace to me from Scripture and through experience. (Sometimes all I could do during our own church services was read through the book of Galatians to keep from hearing the legalistic teachings.) So I went to the conference on my own, my husband couldn't go since he was busy with church things. I had no idea what God was about to do. First of all, the worship was amazing. It was Phatfish, and I think Dave was leading (but to be honest I can't really remember). What I will never forget is the preaching. Dave preached and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I didn't know charismatics could preach! I mean, it was amazing stuff. About the new testament church, how it's supposed to be, and how it is with their churches. They were actually doing it the right way. I was hooked. (to hear the story of that little church, click here )
And now I love the church. I see it for what is really is, the body and bride of Christ. It is God's plan a, as Dave would say, and there is no plan b. It is the wonderful glorious dwelling place of God. It is the most powerful instrument He has put on this earth, and we will change the world. How good it is to look back and see what He's done in your life! It makes me want to sing. I probably will.