Monday, May 24, 2010

The day after Sunday, can I brag about my church?

I have a somewhat unique experience with my church. I grew up "unchurched". Now some would say that this a horrible thing. Others think, lucky girl. I heard the gospel at my church, was introduced to Christ there and have stayed in the same church for almost 24 years. I know what you are thinking. I must have become a Christian when I was only one because I can't possibly be that old. Me too. But I have to tell the truth. I was an adult at the time, a very young adult.

So my experience with church affiliation is very limited. It's not to say that I haven't visited other churches with friends or family. I married into a very nice Baptist family and have had numerous opportunities to visit their churches. As a kid, I went to a few churches with neighbors or relatives, but I can't recall hearing the plan of salvation at any of them. I even participated in a Biblethon which raised money by copying scriptures with a youth group. That saddens me that no one shared Jesus with me in those youth group activities.

When I am around my home schooling friends, who happen to attend various churches, blogless Lori will give me a quick synopsis of the doctrinal differences. She was raised Nazerene, married a guy from EMU and eventually landed in a Presbyterian church. Now why am I saying all of this? Oh, because I have a point that I may get to.
My Church
I go to this church, that if I was to give it a church-like name, I would call it the First Church of the Over-Achievers. I mean that in a loving way. My church is not filled with people with doctoral degrees in theology, although there are some folks with degrees. Each person there is amazingly gifted at something. Some examples:

There are people who will learn a new skill and create amazing art work, quilts, sculptures, and woodworking projects. At each gathering, I am awed at something that someone has created. There are so many skilled photographers, musicians, craftsman, artists, ect.

We can't even talk about the music. This could become a source of jealousy. It is just a spirit of excellence, that constantly amazes me. Now this can be handled two ways. I can sit and mope and wonder why I don't sing like them or why I can never learn more than 4 songs on the piano. Or I can praise God that I can serve God alongside theses incredible people. They inspire me.

Of course because I think too much, I have pondered this. 
Why? How?

I believe it's because in our congregation, we are constantly challenged. Do I like this? NO. I love it or I hate it. My church has mature Christians who carry a spirit of excellence. These are Christians that don't take things lightly. Jesus is their Lord and Master. They serve in every area, like they are personally serving Him.

My pastor loves to play baseball. When our church gathers for picnics, we play hardball. That about sums up his preaching. He preaches tough things. He has just wrapped up a series called Christian birthmarks. These sermons offer up some encouragement, challenge to the new believer and the crusty old saints. No one escapes the Word of God. Many times, the batter gets hit with the ball and it stings. Yes, it does at the moment. Eventually, the sting wears off and we are ready to get up to the plate again. His latest series on Christian Ethics is hitting batters left and right. I am always amazed at how he can preach to each individual, yet speak to all of the church at the same time. I am so thankful for that.

How about you? Who inspires and challenges you?

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