Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Church people and the Roomba!
Okay, the kids are sleeping so I have some time to tell you more about this church plant.

We served with Kyle (the lead pastor) and Erika before at our old church. Kyle was the executive pastor there and he began feeling like God was wanting him to start another church plant. I know how much they loved that church and they left behind many, many friends. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. Knowing that, I trust them even more. Stepping out in faith is never easy. We think it should be simple because we are being obedient to the Lord but with obedience comes sacrifice and so much more. Many times those around us don't understand. At least, that is what's happening in my life. It would be so much easier if God revealed to everyone else what he revealed to us. But how easy would that be? If everyone understood and everyone believed we were making the right decision, would that be walking in faith? I don't believe it would.

It's kind of funny how this whole thing has been working out. Friday afternoon as we drove to our friend's house, Jeremy and I talked about our vision for church. We were kind of scared to find out where they were at. We knew that God called us down there but we hoped that when we got there we would learn that they had a vision similar to ours. If they didn't, we knew we still had to be obedient. But if they did, wow! That would be really cool! Over the past year I have read books by Rob Bell and listen to many of his sermons. Also I read a book called Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. My next stop was going to be Erwin McManus. So my way of thinking when it comes to church has really changed. REALLY CHANGED! While we have sat out of church for eight months, we have gotten a lot of criticism. In fact when we told one of our family members that we were moving to help plant a church, this was their response. "It's weird that you want to plant a church when you haven't even been in church for almost a year. How is that going to work?" We were also asked, "When is this last time you witnessed to someone? When is the last time you opened your Bible and read it?" And that was just half of it. The questions we have received have been shocking. They pretty much all have the same theme. We haven't been in church so we haven't been living for the God. Right? WRONG! This is exactly WHY we feel God has showed us that moving and helping our friends plant a church is EXACTLY the RIGHT thing to do. We do not want to minister to people who have been sitting in the pew their whole life. We want the sinners! Oh sure the people in the pew are sinners too, they just don't think they are. But the people that don't have their butts attached to the pew every week, KNOW they need something. They KNOW they are sinners! And Resonate Community wishes to reach out to those kind of people. People like me and you. Needless to say, we are on the same page. Thank you Lord!

Unfortunately, I have a huge inventory now of things that have been said to us over the past couple of weeks that I am really drawing from. Here's another. "Churches are not teaching repentance anymore. People need to be taught to repent. It's dangerous that pastors don't teach this." Well, I could not disagree more. The problem with most preachers these days is they spend so much time pointing out sin that people have a hard time hearing the message of Christ. Instead of pointing out their sin, why don't we accept them, love them and serve them? We don't have to tell them about their sin. When they get saved and they understand who is Jesus is, the sin will fall off. We don't have to beat it out of them! My husband and I feel STRONGLY about this and that is why we have been sitting out for all this time. Every single church we went to, we found a common denominator. It was filled with CHURCH PEOPLE. I don't want to spend all of my time with church people. Do you know how freeing it is to know that I can be friends with unbelievers? It's pretty damn freeing!

Last year, we tried. We tried to go to church and soon we were disgusted. I was singing in a choir and hating every minute of it. I thought I needed to do something, get myself involved and serve by singing in a choir that needed voices. Apparently they needed perfect people's voices. Rehearsal was on Wednesday nights. Every Wednesday night I saw a beautiful young lady sitting on the back row rehearsing with us. When Sunday morning rolled around, she was sitting in the back pew instead of singing in the choir. Without fail, she was at rehearsal but never in the service singing with us. So I decided to ask someone why. Their response made me sick, really sick. "Well, she isn't married. She lives with her fiance and until they get married, she is only allow to rehearse. After they get married she will be allowed to sing in the choir." Okay, first of all this girl had three kids already with her fiance and she can't sing until she is legally married to him? Come on! What about all the other choir members that have sin in their life? Even worse, their sin in secret. How about the ladies in the choir that do nothing but gossip about other church members? Or what about the bass or tenor addicted to pornography? Any liars in the choir? I bet so! Why don't we do some inventory of our own and let others decide if we are worthy to sing in the choir?!

I hear church people say all the time how much they don't like Rosie or Ellen because they are lesbians. But they will watch Oprah all day long, who ISN'T married but lives with her companion. Personal convictions is one thing but judgement is another. Church people are afraid to let others know they don't agree with the war or they don't want it to come out that the like the Dixie Chicks! Perish the thought! Or some of their "church people" are coming over so they hide the wine and maybe even the wine glasses. And guess what people? I am interested in what Barack Obama has to say about our country!! What about you? Some of you are already thinking, "Uh oh. She moves to Austin and becomes a liberal!"

As we talked with Kyle this weekend, we learned that almost everyone always asks, "Where do y'all meet for church on Sundays?" When they find out that there is not a Sunday service yet, the next question is this. "When are you going to have a building? When will you start officially having church?" Brandon who is also from the church plant said something I liked a lot. "Well, some of us are meeting every single day." You know who is most uncomfortable with it? Christians! The Christians don't care about the weekly Tuesday night Bible Study or any of the other ministries happening as a result of the church plant. They don't care that you did a breakfast for all the teachers at a school nearby. They don't care that you are SERVING the community. Instead they would rather you give all of that up and get your butt in a pew or a seat of some sort on Sunday mornings! Do that and THEN you will be a church!

I know now what God was doing. He had to get us out of the corporate setting of church before we would be ready for this. It's so amazing when you figure out how much God loves you just as you are. I believe the group of people I will be serving with and our pastor is on to something. I think we are on to something big and I feel so blessed that God picked me to be a part of it.

This weekend while we stayed at our friend's house, I got really jealous of my friend's vacuum cleaner! She has a Roomba! I would trade my Kirby Vacuum any day for a Roomba! Sunday morning while I was upstairs in their guest bathroom getting ready, I heard the Roomba. People were coming over so Erika turned it on while she did other stuff. How cool is that housewives?? By the time everyone arrived for a Sunday morning brunch, the carpet was clean and even had perfect little tracks all over the place. And my friend did nothing but turn it on and do her own thing while the Roomba did it's thing! Sometimes I think we can all be like the Roomba. Turn the power switch on and watch us go in circles. When the Roomba runs into a wall or a piece of furniture, it continues and hopefully covers new ground. But it's not the perfect machine. After I finished getting ready, I went downstairs to join my husband on the couch and visit with our friends. My husband and I were totally enamored by the Roomba. He was enjoying the cleaning aspect while I enjoyed the convenience. But we both noticed a small piece of paper in the middle of the room that it passed up over and over again. It bugged me so bad that I picked up the paper and put it directly in the path of the moving Roomba! Finally, the paper was gone. Eventually the paper would have been sucked up by the inventive vacuum but I did not feel like waiting. I feel like my faith has been much like the Roomba. I have been going in circles and missing the "big" things in my spiritual journey. I have hit the wall and started over a lot but I have missed some of the obvious. Until now I did not even realize it because I was so used to doing what all the other Christians were doing. Go to church, listen to Christian music, hang out with Christian people, make sure I do business with other Christians and pray that God will give me boldness to witness. For me, there is no freedom in that. I'm just a robot or much like the Roomba, something that plugs in for a charge and then goes in circles. I don't know about you but I am tired of going in circles. I am tired of believing a certain way just because every other Christian is. I'm tired of saying I am republican just because that's what Christians are supposed to be. I'm tired of the self condemnation. I'm tired of running into walls only to turn around and do the same thing all over again! All the while I am missing out on so much more.

Freedom. That's what I want. It's risky, isn't it? After I heard my Pastor/friend's ideas and his vision for His church I told him that "Christians" will say he is liberal. Some may even say that he is ascribing to post-modernist relativism. I had a family member say that about me so nothing shocks me anymore. It's crazy how Christians act. To tell you the truth, until I encounter a different kind of christian or a different kind of "churched" person, my mind is made up. I don't want to be like them. It will be hard because I sure have a whole lot of church in me. It would be so much easier to conform. I don't like having family members that think I am not "Godly". That hurts! But, I'm not living to please them and now that I have figured that out, I feel a whole heck of a lot better!

Nothing but excitement! That's what I feel right now! I can't wait to meet all those people that need to see Jesus in a new light instead of having religion thrown in their face. I can't wait to show all those people that being a Christian is not as bad as it seems. In fact, it's pretty awesome!

Matthew 7: 1-5 (The Message) Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.


  posted at 3:46 PM

At 3:10 PM, Blogger V. said...

Preach it sister! I am so on board with you right now...!

God Bless you over and over and over, my sinning, my less-than-perfect, and my committed-to-God-at-whatever-the-cost friend!!!!


At 4:49 PM, Blogger Dee said...

WOW!!! I can't say anything more right now -- I'm speechless!!! That's AWESOME!!!! I couldn't read fast enough - then I had to go back and re-read it! Girl - we need more of this... more of you... more of Kyle...more of US listening to God instead of the worldly view of CHURCH!

You stated it's funny how it's all working out --- NO WAY! It's GOD! ALL GOD! He intended this .... I can't wait to walk with you on this journey and help pray you through Resonate!! :)

Keep telling the story ----- it'll get sweeter ALL THE TIME!!!

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Dee said...


At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

I am so with you too.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Paula said...

WOW!! Great things are to come.

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Kathy said...

Let people say what they want. They will reap what they sow and will be responsible. We are not to touch the annointed or talk bad about them in any way. We are to bless them. Hang with the folks that bless you Mandi. You are blessed among women and Jeremy blessed among men. We are commanded to go and find the sinner and take them to the Father......they aren't to find us and just fall in the church doors .....we are to go and get them. What is the name of the church that Jesus went to....I don't recall the specific name.....He cared about souls and not a building......He ministered outside of the church....at the well, on the side of the road, in the water, on a mountain.....He also used the worst of sinners and do you know why......a sinner is the most vulnerable to a way out and for someone to love them......that is our job to love them to Christ...not show off the latest syles, show how much money you have and how your life is perfect....following Christ is so simple and we make it so hard. I need to shut up now.

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! I came back tonight to see if you had written anything about J's new job....but this blog - all I can say is I wish Austin was closer - I would want to help you guys. I have had my own trasformations over the past year or so and trying to figure out where and if I want to go to church - like you it has nothing to do with God - well, I feel like I am about to write my own blog - anyway - I love that you guys are doing this - I hope to get to come and vistit - I have a cousin in Hutto - it will be a good chance to go see him ;o))

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Gwen said...

That is amazing Amanda! I'm so excited for you! I feel the same way!

You know one of the very things that I love about the church I have visited the last 2 weeks is something like what you talk about. The pastor talked this past week about how he knows we all sin. He knows that the overeater, the addicted to pornography, the alcoholic, etc. are out there and he said we are here for you and so is God! That was something I couldn't help but love about him! He planted this church fours years ago this Easter. So far I'm pretty excited!

Thanks for sharing this with us! I'm very excited to watch where you go! I too wish I was closer to Austin although I could visit sometime! You will be close enough now that it will certainly be possible especially since i will likely visit my brother from time to time!

I'm so excited for you (have I said that already??? LOL!!!!)

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

First off - impressive that you have 3 kids sleeping at the same time.

Secondly - loved this post. I agree with you on many of the points you make.

I'm going to stay tuned and enjoy reading about this very exciting time in your life and your experiences in Austin.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

Wow! I got chills as I read your post and I am so happy for you! I can tell that you are so passionate about the move and the church plant! I am just thrilled to see how God is working in your life!

Jon and I have recently started praying that God would speak to us, in much the same way that He spoke to you and Jeremy, about our future plans. I pray that we can hear His voice as clearly as you did...

I'm anxious to continue reading about this journey you are on...

At 7:38 PM, Blogger annie said...

I'm also excited to hear the tales of this journey you are on Amanda~ may God bless you as you serve Him!


At 9:57 PM, Blogger gretchen.hanna said...

Hi Mandi,
I'm new to finding and reading blogs and yours has really intrigued me and blessed me. I am also finishing up Blue Like Jazz and just read When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. See, I'm married to a "good people". He's a good man, choosing not to walk with the Lord for any number of reasons, but most of which have to do with the hypocrisy of The Church and its believers. He's constantly in my prayers, and I know in God's timing, he will again walk to Him. But it's hard waiting on God. It's also a blessing to wait on God--I'm comforted by the fact that He always has perfect timing. My prayer is that I can love and serve others and love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Isn't that what Christianity is supposed to be. Anyway...loved your courageous post. Gretchen in WA


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Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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