My church just finished up a series called, “Oh The Wonders I’ve Seen”. It was a really good series, and I’m glad I was there for each message. But one message really stood out to me, so much so that I got a copy of the message and I am listening to it in my car. I’ve gone back and watched it online as well.
In the message pastor Tome talked about how we have not because we ask not. The bible spells that out for us. And that God always answers prayers, be it yes, no or maybe, they do not go unanswered. He also touched on the fact that motives behind our prayers might be why we aren’t getting what we want if we do ask. He talked of a recent trip to a 3rd world country and the miracle that was the answer to prayer there for a little boy. But he went on that the greater wonder, the bigger miracle was not the healing of the child, but that this little one’s father came to Christ. That the greatest wonder on all the earth is when a heart is turned to Jesus. Because on our own we would never do that!
Over the past week my son experienced an in your face reality check about our mortality. His wife’s cousin died in a freak accident at the age of 42. It was heartbreaking to say the least. The family is all very close. Because of complex connections I won’t go into here, many from my previous church family were in attendance at the funeral.
During that event a number of the past spiritual family approached my son expressing how good it was to see him, and how they had been thinking about his parents and wondering how they are and praying for them. Funny, if you wonder how I am, why not just call me yourself and ask? Praying for me? For what exactly, as you know nothing of my life or where I am at this time. One even expressed a bit of surprise when my son mentioned at a gathering after the funeral that he needed to get back home as I was watching his kids and needed to be at church the next morning where I volunteer. Surprise in that this person wasn’t sure of my spiritual status, per said person.
Seriously, if you are at all concerned with the eternal status of my soul, and you should be about anyone who has professed Christ, why have you not made it your business to find out? I honestly, and perhaps wrongly, believe that it is because I do not attend your church that you find there to be cause for concern.
So let me assure you all, my soul is fine. It is a soul that has repented, been redeemed, saved by grace and through nothing of my own. It is strictly on the merits of Christ and His shed blood that I will stand one day before the judgement throne and hear “well done”. Any good I have done once the gold is refined will have been in Christ and not of my own flesh. I am a sinner, through and through. I am saved by the blood of my Savior, through and by Christ alone, and I am now a daughter of the Most High God, a daughter of the King. Outside of Christ I am completely imperfect and worthless. Thankfully I am IN Christ and therefore priceless. My name is written on His hands. And because of where I have come from and where I fell too before taking my prodigal self back to Him, my desire is to serve Him, to go where He wants me to go. Oops, for those stickler types, allow me to qualify that: I was drawn by God back to Him, I didn’t do it myself.
The next question I want to answer is the one I have heard regarding where I now worship each week. “Do you know what they teach there????” well GASP!!! YES! I know because I attend there. Do YOU, dear concerned one, have a clue what is taught there or do you assume that because they have free coffee and soda, and don’t teach the same way you do, that ohmygoshtheycantbesaved? Yes, they do have free coffee and soda, which serves to help in encouraging fellowship! People actually smile, say hello, welcome you and talk to you there. They make a joyful noise unto the Lord each week with a band. You have an organ and piano, we have drums and guitars. You sing hymns, and so do we. You are taught verse by verse from scripture. We are taught topically from scripture. Each week I leave there, feeling full in the tummy of my soul, and challenged in my daily walk with the Lord.
I attend with someone who would have turned tail and ran from your church because she’d have been judged harshly for her tattoos and piercings (yes, she would have I’ve been there and been judged too, many times for less). She not only gets up and goes when she is exhausted, but listens, learns, soaks it up and has a bible now that she is reading. She came for the free coffee, but comes back now every week because piece by piece her soul is being excavated and she is hungry for more. Free coffee, soda, bibles if you want one, and CDs of sermons from previous weeks. FREE. It’s a very different take on church, but from what I have read in the bible, way more in line with the early church as far as the hospitality, fellowship and JOY in the worship time. And the teaching, as stated, is topical and from scripture. They don’t expect everyone who comes in the door to believe as they do, or for that matter to even believe there is a God. They do expect you come with an open mind, open to learning about God and Jesus. They expect if you do stick around that you are growing as you receive the Word of God and teaching. Trust me there is nothing that tickles the ear, but plenty that convicts and then nourishes the soul. Then I end up frequently going to lunch with one or both of my kids and their families, talking about the message, and through the week even further discussing it.
Where is Marti spiritually? Where God wants her. Following Christ, reading the Word, and prayerfully trying to follow and imitate Christ, ever so imperfectly but with a strong heart’s desire to do so perfectly.
A sister in Christ who moved to Tennessee stays in touch, holds me accountable and when she wonders how my walk is going, she reaches out to ask! She gently but firmly called me out on an area of sin she saw in my life that convicted me much and through a desire to walk the walk, I removed that sin from my life. I love her deep love for the Lord and willingness to love me and share this journey with me.
Next time you wonder how I am? Pick up your phone and call, text or email me. I would believe you really are concerned if you did that much.
By the way, it’s REALLY good coffee! 😉