Attend the church of God’s choice.

Small town weekly newspapers still print that old American slogan in their church news sections: “Attend the church of your choice.” Personally, I couldn’t trust myself to do that.

Being comfortable is not a reliable guide to whether you’re in the right place. One time, at the beginning of his ministry (Isaiah 6), Isaiah found himself in the temple. Not just in the temple building in Jerusalem, which was old hat for him. He’d been there many times. But this time, God was there too.

Now, most everybody says they go to church because they want to be in God’s presence. They say that’s a good place to be. But when he got there, Isaiah wasn’t comfortable. In fact, on that occasion he was quoted as saying, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.”

So, judging from the Bible, you would suppose that in God’s presence, people often cry out in anguish or fall on their faces or something. I suppose that happens frequently at the church of your choice. But it doesn’t happen much at my church.

For many people, their idea of an uncomfortable church would be a loud Pentecostal service. I’ve been in some of those, and I realized an interesting thing about them. Most Pentecostals aren’t comfortable with that kind of worship either! They admit it. They say it’s humbling for them too. (You might say, embarrassing). But then, the Bible says that when you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, he will lift you up. So they say it’s okay.

If God’s intention is to put our old selves to death so that he can give us new life, I wouldn’t expect to feel comfortable while it’s happening. Not exactly.

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