...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Church Time

If anyone had ever told me that I would one day spend hours in church and actually enjoy it, I would have said they were NUTS!
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When I was a kid I was forced to go to Catholic church, pretty much every Sunday. Boring! Was all I remember of the early years. I would stare at the statues, be transfixed by the candle flames, wonder how the people knew when to stand up, sit down, kneel, stand, sit!!! Then there was communion, what was the priest drinking and why didn't he share? All the rules, no fish on Friday, getting dressed up for Easter, confession, memorizing prayer and praying the rosary....so much to remember!
Image result for catholicThen in elementary school it was a Godsend to get to leave school to attend church classes at the church near the school during 'Release Time'. But that was the ONLY thing good about church as far as I was concerned.

In my teen years, things changed, the rules change but church became a little more exciting. New priest, young priest, good-looking priest that played and guitar and could sing!!! In English!!! But still it was boring to sit there and wait for it all to end.

Then in my 20's I was invited to another church -- was it a cult?!? It was Jim's cousin that invited me. So I decided it couldn't be all bad. It was around the corner from where we lived and I wanted so desperately to meet people. I was home with a baby at the time and felt so isolated. So I went. As soon as I heard they needed help in the Nursery, I signed up. Anything had to be better than sitting through boring sermons. I remember my first Sunday, in the sanctuary, a lady sang a song during communion. Out of tune does not begin to describe it...so that with what I expected of another boring service pushed me to look elsewhere in the church to 'participate.' After a few weeks in the nursery, a very wise mom suggested I should go upstairs to hear the teaching rather than taking care of children. "After all you are home all day with your baby, you should get to meet some other adults." So grudgingly I went back to the sanctuary.

After a few weeks there, I started to wonder...how does this guy (the Pastor) know this stuff about me? How does he know what I did this week, yesterday, what my thoughts were! HOW? As I started to really listen, I started to really hear. Little did I know the Holy Spirit was using this man to reach out to me. Slowly I began to hear not only what Christ did, but why he did it and how it related to me! How his blood shed on the cross was graciously given for me. How being the Perfect Sacrifice, his death and resurrection provided the way for me to access heaven and Father God!
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As the years went by I learned more and more. I went to church services, Bible studies, women's ministries, then women's retreats and on and on. I began to study the Bible on my own and in different Bible studies. Soon I was remembering parts of scripture and began sharing it with others. I became disillusioned by many churches because they seemed in competition with each other. The pastors criticized other pastors, and numbers seemed more important than peoples souls. So I visited many churches and struggled to find one I could grow in and do ministry in. Some were too far away, some were too basic, some were way too weird. Others were too Catholic-like and steeped in rituals, others were not teaching the Bible at all!! So I continued to study on my own and was actually being fed by two or three churches on television. These pastors were teaching the same things I was reading in the Bible. They answered a lot of questions that most pastors I met, could not answer. So I settled into watching them, attending Bible study with friends and reading and praying on my own.

Image result for child of godThen through a new ministry, I found myself visiting churches again. As God has a sense of humor. I walked through the doors of the church building I attended back in my 20's. A church that I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. And the place I worked at for 11 years.

This 'new to me' church was lively. Praise and worship was just that. The teaching was solid and totally biblical, no heavy reliance on commentaries and other books. They had basic Bible teaching with some strong lessons on Grace, God's love, God's sacrifice, God's forgiveness and His plan for our lives. It has been several years now and while I continue to go to outside Bible studies and read the Word on my own (as I suggest EVERYONE does), I love being the Grand Ma, the Great Aunt, the quiet observer and helper at this 'new' church. It is a blessing to me to bless the next generation.