For Part 1 click here
For Part 2 click here
For Part 3 click here
For Part 4 click here
For Part 5 click here
For Part 6 click here
For Part 7 click here
For Part 8 click here
After many months of barely attending and 3 full months of not attending at all, I decided that I had to return to church. After all, even Jesus went to synagogue and He is God (and from what I've read, the religious leadership in His day was seriously lacking).
So I searched the Internet and found a church service on Thursday nights, which was perfect for me, since I was working Friday and Saturday nights. The first time I went, I was surprised at how small it was. After all, I had just come from a church of 10,000 plus. But after that first night I knew that I had found the right place to be. It didn't have the fabulous musical production that I had been accustomed to, but the pastor spoke the message from his heart and that is what kept me returning for more.
This second home that I found is called The Summit. The timing of this post can only be attributed to God Himself. Last night after the church service our pastor shared with us that he has received an offer, for lack of a better word, to join our church with a larger church nearby. This prospect fills me and others that I've spoken to with anxiety. And rightly so. We have come to love our small community of believers. While I have only been there for a year, I count these people as my family.
Joining our family to another is not something to take lightly. Our pastor says it will be like a marriage (The Brady Bunch if you will) of churches and I know intimately just how difficult mixing 2 families can be. I think that my greatest fear is getting lost in a large church again. I feel for the first time in my life as a Christian that my faith is growing deeper and I believe that being part of a small group of Christians that love each other and hold each other accountable is what has made the difference. I know that I'm not alone in the fear that becoming a large church would be a step backwards.
I've learned a lot this past year at the Summit. I've learned that I can share my life and my troubles with others. I can reach out for help when I need it and I can be there to help others that need help too. I've learned that being a Christian is not something you do alone. Yes, it's a narrow path, but there's still room to walk it with someone by your side. I've learned that trials are an opportunity for our faith to grow. I've learned that there is a difference between happiness and true joy.
Life will be filled with conflict, but you can't just give up or bail out when it gets a little tough. We are the net effect of the seeds we have sown in our lives. So this week I will be praying because I've learned that praying is what you do first, not what you try as a last resort.