When my husband and I first left the church we attended for eight years, life was different. We visited churches. We tried to fit in somewhere between the walls of another church, any good church, but the man-made, required setting just didn't seem right to us and it still doesn't. But on this journey in seeking truth, we have discovered that Christ's true believers, walking, talking in this life everywhere, is the church, not some building that is frequented by our mostly quiet presence and we now know that everything is spiritual and that the kingdom of God can be pursued on any level and that the fellowship of Christ's saints can happen anytime, any place or anywhere. Our Christianity should never become compartmentalized.
So in pursuing this journey, we have encountered true and free believers in Jesus Christ who don't fit the normal pattern of what we have experienced in meeting people who claim to be Christians.
A handful of people that just seem to "get it" when it comes to living this life in Christ.
We prayed that God would put good, balanced, critically thinking, free-believing, conscientious, real and loving Christians into our life. We had experienced graceless, unmerciful and brainless Christianity at it's finest and had ourselves pursued that type of "Christianity" in our own lives in the past, unfortunately.
We led a lonely existence for a while, but I continued to pray. Then I began meeting these very out-of-the-box and very real Christians. I was truly inspired by these new friends.
My friend Mike Adler was one of these kind of Christians. Mike was as real as it gets. What you saw is definitely what you got. He was what he was on Sunday and then again on Monday. Honesty was apparent every moment we were together. My home is peppered with reminders of his generosity and kindness to our family. And above all, he loved people...all kinds of people and he wasn't afraid of the differences that were prevalent in his friends or in the people who were in the world. Mike's life centered on the gospel and he wasn't interested in straining at gnats or getting into meaningless arguments about things that just really didn't matter in comparison with Jesus Christ, His love, forgiveness, and grace.
Imperfections were admitted and weaknesses were laid bare for all to see with no false veneer or facade to cover over them. Mike let you see him as he was on his good and bad days. The beauty of a life that God was working with and you saw that process, that glorious process of the Spirit of Christ working His refinement in the heart of my friend and nothing was hidden.
I had a final talk with Mike two weeks ago and I asked him what he would say to me if I never had a chance to see him again. He uttered such kind words to me and I am forever grateful for our exchange of emotion and tears together. One thing he told me was about a talk he had with his oldest son, Jon. He told him how hard it was to be a son and that it should be easy, but it is very hard, to lay yourself down to the Father in obedience.
It is hard, yes, indeed, for all of us.
Mike was a true friend and he will be sorely missed.