Cream & Sugar

Acts 2:43-44 (the message)
Everyone around was in awe–all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common.

Yesterday I got fired up.

Like, passionate and animated and just plain fired up!

Smile… I’ve always heard what a talker I can be, so now I try to be careful not to get too fired up. Not to say too much or dominate a conversation.

Which, over all, is a good thing. It’s hard to be in relationship with someone who needs to be heard far more than they want to listen.

This morning, as I’m sweeping up my Cheerio-laden floor, I let myself off the hook. It’s okay to be passionate about the things and people we love.

And I love my church. I appreciate my Pastor and his family, their willingness to be “real.” I value the culture…inviting, open, come-as-you-are and lets cheer each other on toward Jesus.

Our church is often well-loved or well-judged. Sometimes I don’t quite get it. But, then again, maybe I do. I’ve absorbed various comments and opinions over the years as we’ve attended and even as I served on staff for a time.

The negativity reveals shades and aspects of church-world that I find…distasteful.

For the most part congregations want to see their church grow…people come to Jesus…embrace this thing we call church family. But if a church is too small then judgement comes because why isn’t it growing? And if it’s too big then judgement comes because why would so many people go?

Sigh…who decides?

I’m weary of Pharisee mentalities that make judgement calls based on inconsequential differences rather than celebrating lives that are forever changed because of Jesus.

We ran out of creamer this week. For my mornings, this is a conundrum. Coffee without creamer? Impossible! I pass if I can’t have it the way I’m used to having it. I don’t want it any other way, people! But I did what I had to and took a mug of steaming, sugar-only, coffee onto my porch.

I discovered it was still coffee. And still good!

I am certainly not reducing God to a cup of coffee, but I like my little analogy.

Just because I like mine almost white doesn’t mean you can’t have yours black. It doesn’t make it less or more coffee. It just has a different flavor.

I’m convinced that God understands our experiences, how we’ve been raised and our personal journey. He wants us to plug into a life-giving body of believers, but I don’t think He minds our flavors as long as we drink in Jesus.

The earliest believers were in awe of Holy Spirit and this was their common ground. So much so that they lived in harmony.

Wonderful harmony.

May I be gut-level honest? I totally used to filter other believers through my church experience. Not my Jesus experience, my church experience. If you didn’t go to a church like mine, worship like me and come to see the truth in every exacting detail the way I saw it, well then you just needed to wake up!

Over the years God has chipped away at my filter. I’m not interested in splitting hairs. I don’t relish having a corner on God.

Because I don’t have one.

See, if I have a corner then I’m territorial. Often without realizing it. It’s guest by invitation only. Are you on my list? Do you agree with me in the fine print?

I don’t want to live like an umpire, making calls on believers and churches and Pastors. I don’t want to preach from my corner while sneering at the one down the road.

May we all celebrate, in wonderful harmony, with others who are being swept away by our amazing, patient, full-of-grace, God.

Wherever it happens. Whatever it looks like.

With or without cream.

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