Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In-Between Time Revisited

Once again, I have made a change in the schedule. Quite inadvertently. But I had news this week that has called me away, even as it is bringing me back to something.

My church has undergone a division. For more than a year, we were in discussions with our denomination about withdrawing--this after quite a few years of challenging several steps in spiritual direction made by the governing bodies of the denomination. It seems to be an increasingly common occurrence, sadly, as some denominations' interpretations of Biblical truth leave parishioners to question the nature of the actual Word of God itself.

Not to get into specifics here. It has only been 4 days since the announcement, but time has lost its element of exactness in dealing (and reeling) from the news. This is family. A family torn over differences. Again, not uncommon today. It just goes to show you that Christians can have their differences, and we are all very much still sinners.

There is a remnant of folks staying behind in the church building, choosing to remain under the denomination's leadership. The rest of us--myself included--will be part of a new beginning. Which is what leads me to the "bringing me back" part.

Here I am in another "in-between time." The name of this blog stems from a phrase the interim pastor at my last church used to refer to the time in which there is a transfer from one thing to another. At my last church, it was from one pastor's departure to the hiring of another. The in-between time was to be used for study of the congregation: reviewing past hurts, past direction, past resources, past everything! This study would then allow those to look toward a new beginning with a clean slate.

The in-between time wasn't meant to be an easy-going period of waiting for the next big thing. It was an active time of exploration, of digging deep, of admitting past mistakes, seeking forgiveness and rebuilding relationships. It was a time to focus on God and to seek His will and discernment for the next steps. It was a time for people to step down and a time for people to step up. It was confusing, emotional, fast-paced, slow-going--and essential!

I have used this blog space for various in-between times. A time of Scriptural devotionals in between Mothers of Preschoolers gatherings. A time of study when Bible study groups took time off in the summer. Now, of course, it's a study of the in-between time in which God chose not to speak directly through His prophets, anticipating the time of the Messiah.

And now I am living through another personal in-between time, which, even after 4 days, has every intention of being another season of challenge and growth, as the dust settles and God does His work through two newly reformed bodies of believers. Two bodies that need renewal and restoration, clarity of mission and focus, and, most importantly, a time of healing, forgiveness and sanctification.

Thank you for your prayers! Jumping ahead in this Isaiah study quite a bit to close with some words from Isaiah 40:   

"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
'All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.'
And this is the word which was preached to you."
--I Peter 1: 22-25 (quoting Isaiah 40: 6-8)


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Next week: Isaiah 10: 28-34

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

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