These almost past two years since Brad resigned as pastor have been quite eventful. It's been a refreshing and renewing time for us - a time of much needed rest spiritually that enabled us to learn, grow, and get focused on what is truly important. We enjoyed meeting with other families in our home for church on Sunday mornings, but that is a season that has passed for now. It was a wonderful thing, but our family realized we needed to do something different. The main reason was the inconsistency that can occur within a home fellowship. For instance, if we were having church at our home and someone woke up sick, we had to call everyone at the last minute and cancel church. This happened on several occasions, and we realized it wasn't fair to anyone. We debated finding a place to meet so that everyone would have a place to show up to regardless, but we didn't feel the Lord giving us the liberty to do so at that time. That hasn't been ruled out for the future, but we just want to be careful to do what our Lord wants us to do. For the past couple of months, Brad and I have both began to feel the desire to see him pastoring again. We feel this is from the Lord, but we still don't have any direction as to what capacity He has in store for us. In the past couple of weeks, Brad has received two phone calls from churches looking for a pastor and actually preached at one last Sunday. In the meantime, we've found a wonderful church to attend. They make every attempt to keep Christ the focus of everything that goes on during the worship service. We (Brad and I) have a strong desire to lead people in this direction - to come to church and honor and worship Christ with every word, deed, song, etc. In order to do this, the traditions of men have to be set aside, and that can be difficult at times. It is our prayer that God will place us where the people are willing to make Jesus the Lord of everything - not just in the church, but in their personal lives as well.
I am speaking to myself here, too. Just as Christ alone should be worshiped on Sunday mornings, everything I do every day should be a reflection of my worship to Him. I was reminded of this during a conversation I was having with Brad the other evening. We were having dinner at Cracker Barrell on Thursday evening, and he was telling me about how he was making a delivery to a Christian bookstore in the area where the owners are known for their rudeness. They proved it to him during his short UPS delivery visit. The conversation then turned towards a comment that a friend of mine had posted on Facebook about how rude church people can be at restaurants on Sunday afternoons. Brad's aunt used to work at a Cracker Barrell in Texas, and she had told us this same thing several years ago. She dreaded Sunday afternoons! Ever since then, we try to be extra nice, leave a good tip, etc., (whether it is Sunday or not) so that we can try to help change that impression. If we truly have the love of Jesus in our hearts, it should be spilling over into the lives of others - at home, at church, in restaurants, at Wal-Mart, everywhere! I know I'm just an ugly piece of dirty flesh, but through Christ I can be beautiful, and it's my prayer that others can see Him in me and desire to have a relationship with Him because of something they see in me. Only Christ can do that - I certainly can't do it on my own!
As I was looking at my family at the restaurant, my heart was overwhelmed with gratefulness as I thought of my thoughtful husband who treated me to a night of no cooking, my precious Matthew who was sitting in a highchair with his little head peaking above the table, for Amelia who was falling asleep in her chair after eating a fine meal, for Cari who had dressed up in a typical Cari outfit that showed her outgoing personality, and for Madison who is turning into a beautiful young lady. I have so much to be thankful for. I've been reminded of that once again these past days in the midst of the tragedy and sadness that has surrounded our area as a result of the flooding. Why should I not have a smile on my face? No matter what my circumstances, I have the peace that only Jesus can given in my heart and the assurance of an eternity with Him, my dearest friend. As I type this, I realize how much I want to know Him, love Him more. And I realize once again that I should worship Him in everything I do - because of who He is - and not just on Sundays during morning worship but every day.