Today was AMAZING!!! It started off quite early...Edwin and I were up, dressed, and ready to leave the house by 7:15am so we could arrive at church around 8am. It was only our second week of services at PC3's new location, but it already feels like home. Dropping Edwin off at Grow Zone went so smoothly- He didn't cry at all!
Without getting too specific, God has been working on my heart about a particular issue. Today's service was very emotional for me...I found myself tearing up as we sang : "Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow." I am so grateful that even when I screw up over and over again, He still forgives me and continues to love me. Today, Mike continued his series about Cultivating Change. I'm not very good at writing summaries, so if you want to hear it, it'll be on their website within a few days. Just know that it was wonderful as usual.
Here's where my Sunday took a turn away from the ordinary. Mom & Dad watched Edwin for me while I went to another church with Rebecca and Cindy (both in my small group). Here's the background story-- I hope I remember everything correctly, but I guess Rebecca can leave a comment if I get any of it wrong:
Last Sunday after church, Rebecca had to go to work (she's a nurse at a rehab center). She was overflowing with joy and excitement about PC3, the worship service, God, etc. She went to get ice cream, and as she was coming back, just prayed and asked God to give her someone to share Jesus with. Not necessarily a non-believer, but someone that she could talk to and share in her joy. She rounded the corner, and there was Mrs. M (I don't know if I'm allowed to say her name, so Mrs. M will have to do) in her Sunday dress. According to Rebecca, you could tell she was "churched out". Mrs. M is a 100 year old lady!!! Yes, one hundred years and seven months old and apparently you'd never be able to tell. She wasn't able to go to church that day because she was in the hospital, but wanted to get dressed up anyway. Rebecca and Mrs. M talked for quite awhile. Mrs. M asked Rebecca where she goes to church and she told her about PC3. Then Rebecca returned the question. Mrs. M said she attends Macedonia Missionary Baptist church which just so happens to be right down the road from Rebecca's house! When she told Mrs. M this, she responded "I wish you'd come." Rebecca agreed to go on one condition. That the pastor would preach about Jesus and be based on the Bible. Mrs. M said "Oh he tore it up last week!" That settled it. Rebecca found out the time of their services and said she's see Mrs. M this Sunday.
Whew! Long story, I told you. So Rebecca, Cindy and I went to Macedonia Missionary for their 11am service today. WOW WOW WOW. I am at a loss for words to describe the experience! It was spirit-filled, wonderful, convicting, special, unique...I could go on and on. The music...oh the music. I wish I could bottle it up and take it out of my pocket when I need a little pick-me-up. They even had the Sunshine Band (children probably 10 and under) sing a couple of songs. The whole thing was just so genuine. People were worshipping God in the way that felt right to them, not concerned with what other people might think. And their pastor's sermon was intense!!! He referenced Philippians 3:12-17 and focused on moving beyond our regrets. Whew! It was so appropriate. We are to press on towards the goal and keep our eyes on Jesus. God's timing is perfect!
Unfortunately, Mrs. M wasn't at the service this morning. She just got out of the hospital, and needed some more time at home. But her niece was there to greet us and asked that we come to Mrs. M's house when church was over. I had to get back to Mom & Dad's to get Edwin, but Rebecca and Cindy went. From what Rebecca said, it was remarkable. That's how my day got started. Two very different church services, but both worshipping the same God.
This afternoon, Edwin and I surprised Ed by showing up at his work. Daddy got to show Edwin off to some of his co-workers and I finally got to see where he spends the majority of his time. After a few errands, we spent the rest of the day at Mom & Dad's house. We had dinner tonight with the whole family (Katie, Brian, and Anthony) and just spent some quality time together before Mom, Katie & Anthony take off for MN on Tuesday.
I am constantly reminded of how much God has changed me in the past few years. When I lived in Ohio, I went to a church service very similar to the one at Macedonia this morning. But at the time, I thought the music went on too long, people were strange for raising their hands when singing, the pastor talked too much, I didn't know the Bible stories, etc. It's astounding to me how different my opinions were today. The music was overwhelming, I loved that people were free enough to raise their hands in praise, the pastor's message lit my butt on fire!!, and I had my own Bible with me to look up the scripture passages. Two hours went by in no time! Anyway, I'm just grateful to finally appreciate the blessings God has given me.
I hope everyone has a great week!
Philippians 3:12-17 (New International Version)
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.