More Anne Ortlund, "Just Hanging Around", and a New Blog Series

If we go to church just to be with one another, one another is all we will get. And it isn’t enough. Eventually, our deepest unmet needs will explode in anger at one another. Putting community first destroys community. We must put Christ Himself first and keep Him first and treat Him as first and come to Him first and again and again.
~Ray Ortlund

 For quite some time, I've been planning a blog post inspired by Anne Ortlund's book Love Me With Tough LoveAs I was writing the Legacy of a Heroine of the Faith and My Life Between Two Covers: A Lifetime of Anne Ortlund Inspired Notebooks posts this week, I realized that this would be a good time to complete that post as well.  

I pulled out the book earlier today and realized that even with my tendency toward super-long blog posts, there was no way I could do this topic justice in one or even two posts. 

So...I've decided to do a Sunday series of posts about the church.  I don't know how long it will be; I do know that the posts related to the Love Me With Tough Love book will take several weeks in themselves. There are a few other church-related posts on my "to blog" list as well. 

This is good timing for such a series.  Two weeks ago our church celebrated its constitution as an independent church.  It's an exciting time for us!  We've been talking and learning and praying much about the subject of church, and what exactly is a true church?  I'm excited to share some of what I've been learning through this time as well. 

I ran across the above quote a few weeks ago and thought it was so excellent.  I went looking for it this afternoon as I was sitting down to start this post, and realized I'd totally forgotten that it was by Anne Ortlund's son, Ray.  

Christ must always be preeminent. He must always be the focus of our worship and the center of our fellowship.  However, the church is important to Christ. He loves the church and gave His life for her! (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25-32) He established her to be His holy bride.  And the church is a crucial part of our walk with Christ, of our discipleship. 

Anne Ortlund's influence on my life extended far beyond notebooks. In addition to my parents and solid Bible-teaching churches I've been blessed to be part of, Anne Ortlund was key in shaping my thoughts about and love for the church.

I'll be sharing much more about that in future posts, but I'll end today's with one of the things that has stuck with me ever since my first reading of Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman so many years ago.

Anne relates a story about reaching out to her hairdresser. She invited the woman to attend church with her, and then encouraged her to do something else:

"Well, you need to go to Sunday School, and you need to go to church, and then afterward you need to just hang around!"

Do you know all the wonderful things that can happen to the churchgoers who hang around afterward? The ones who bolt for the parking lot miss half the goodies. I'm thankful for my heritage of being raised by parents who were the last to leave the church, Sunday morning and Sunday evening.  Even a newcomer can find her way into the hearts of the people if she'll hang around!  (Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, p. 34)

Now, there is nothing in Scripture that tells us to "hang around" after church.  However, I agree that there can be great blessing to be discovered by "hanging around".  Like Anne, I'm thankful for parents who were often the last to leave the church, and I'm thankful that my children have learned that habit, too.

I hope you'll join me for this series, and I'd love to hear your input! Do you "hang around" after church? Tell me about it in the comments here or on Facebook.


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