Monday, February 6, 2012

Family

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On Saturday night our church had it's annual "Chilefest" to raise money for a missions trip in October to continue work on a girl's orphanage in the country of Chile. We had a dinner that included chili, then had a time of inspirational music. The music was eclectic and included contemporary praise and worship music, hymns, and older gospel songs. The participants included our worship band, the teens who sang, as well as some of our older folks.

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It was a wonderful evening! I was reminded again of how much I love our church. I think we do a good job of putting the following verse into practice.

Galatians 6:10 ~ "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

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I know a lot of people struggle with the direction the American church has taken. Some of the complaints I've heard are that it has become about having a polished performance, listening to a "speech", and then leaving having not really interacted with anyone around you.

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I know those churches exist. I've been in them. I've left the service feeling like I didn't talk to anyone, no one talked to me, no one knew I existed and that there has to be something more to church. I don't think it has to do with the fact that we are small because I've been in small churches that left me feeling the same way.

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However, I can truly say that our current church is family. We love each other. We accept one another. No one has to be perfect or dressed a certain way or speak a certain way to come through the doors. It's a place where you can ask questions and get answers. We talk about what we are learning in God's word. The neat thing is that this isn't happening just in a formal "class" but in our casual conversations on any given Sunday morning or weekday.

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It's a place where we laugh every single Sunday. It's a place where we cry and pray together. We fellowship together. The old are accepted and the young are accepted and everyone in between is accepted. Where you can be real.

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Our church is not about a certain political party. In fact, we have people in our church who are polar opposites! Yet, they still love and care for one another even if they may disagree. They find their common ground and work from there. In fact, our church isn't about politics at all. It's about following Jesus. About reaching those who don't know Him. About loving others with the love of Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to worry about what needs to be worked on in their lives.

A true family can be themselves, which means you have to take the good, the bad and the ugly. You don't say, "I'm walking away from this family because I don't like them." So just like with my biological family sometimes I want to hug them and other times I want to smack them! LOL

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We love each other and accept each other, but we also encourage one another to grow up and grow beyond where we are. That means sometimes we challenge each other. Other times someone needs a hug and the knowledge that they are loved by their family of believers and more importantly, God loves them. That there is something better than what they are living at the moment.

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To me our church is a holy experience. It is a taste of heaven. It is family.

This week I'm thankful for blessings #851-860

♥ Nathan got a good driving evaluation from an occupational therapist which brings him one step closer to his dream.

♥ Stephen passed his Economics final which means he will graduate in June (tough class for him).

♥ Wonderful weather.

♥ A very successful fundraiser on Saturday night.

♥ A terrific book I'm reading, reminding me of the importance of hospitality.

♥ Renewed excitement for Stephen's future plans.

♥ Other leaders in the church.

♥ Hearing my daughter pour out her heart in a song she wrote.

♥ Seeing her become a very poised young lady.

and finally....

♥ My family of believers.