It doesn’t take long to acclimate to salvation. We readily pick up habits, rituals, and even religion. Worship services become robotic, and our circle of friends slowly begins to constrict.
We lose contact with the outside world. Our old friends fade into the distant past. We are now ushers and help from time to time with setup and operations. Our unique gifting is becoming apparent and we are emerging as disciples of Jesus Christ.
In walk Jim and Pam from a life of sin to the altars of salvation. Really, they should have dressed nicer since they knew they were coming to church. They sat outside of the area I usually do my meet and greet in, so I just kind of glanced at them and nodded my head.
The worship service was decent. I knew the songs by heart and prayed for exactly fifteen seconds between each one. I didn’t really feel up to exerting too much effort today; my week has been hectic. The kids have been crazy and well you get the idea.
I didn’t get too involved in the physical aspects of worship either. I did notice that the drum set was moved to the side of the stage, and it looked like the light scheme had changed.
At one point, I turned and looked around, and noticed that Jim and Pam were looking at me, which seemed weird. They didn’t seem that in to the service. During the offering segment, we were instructed to shake hands with people so I just pulled the pivot and shake 360. Jim and Pam just stood there. I wonder if they have issues with people?
The sermon was decent. I was hoping for a fresh take on Genesis, but it’s good to hear the basics again. Since I didn’t feel the word was for me I doodled a bit in my Moleskine. When we stood for the transition into the altar service, I again looked around and noticed that Jim and Pam had their heads down. They must be waiting for the conclusion so they can bolt.
It was uncomfortable when the altar call was made and nobody came forward. Really, what could you expect? This wasn’t a message for all of us. I wonder if the sinners heard what was preached? I took one final look around and saw that Jim and Pam were actually stepping out of their aisle and coming forward. That’s pretty neat.
I hope they really give their lives to God. They aren’t closing their eyes or raising their hands. Actually, they aren’t talking at all. I wonder if they know that, that is not how you repent and experience life change.
Well, service is over. They never did quite get to the place of openness and forgiveness. What do you expect? They look like they could use a wardrobe makeover and learn a little Christian etiquette.
As soon as service was over, I headed over to my gang and began to talk about Peyton Manning. I wonder if he is going to make it back this season? We all decided to go grab some Chinese. We gathered up our kids, and hit the road. Jim and Pam must have not liked what they experienced because they didn’t come over and shake any hands.
I always look forward to eating after church with my crew.
I love these guys. Come to think of it, I met them the first service I came to this church. I walked in with a lot problems following my every step. I had my head down, hoping that I wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. Immediately one of them came over and began to talk with me. I’ll be honest, this connection made me feel at home.
The worship service was powerful. I had never heard singing like that before. I felt a craving deep inside for more of what I was feeling. However, I didn’t know what I was feeling. It was like a drawing, comforting, tangible, presence.
Many were worshipping as if it was just them and Jesus. I saw men with tears in their eyes and raised hands. So I did what they were doing. I raised my hands in praise for the first time in my life. The tears began to flow and I couldn’t even speak. It was indescribable, but undeniable.
During the offering, groups of people came over to me and shook my hand. I was thankful that I didn’t have to make the first move. I started to feel even more comfortable. All I had on was a t-shirt and shorts; everybody was looking me in the eye and not staring at my clothes. They looked nice, and here I was in flip-flops. It didn’t seem to matter to them.
The preacher started preaching about Jesus. Jesus loved me enough to die for my sins. He gives grace and forgiveness to anybody. Well, nobody knows about the skeletons in my closet. I have some serious junk in my trunk. The baggage I’ve been carrying around for decades would make Southwest shake their heads in disgust.
We all stood and the preacher asked us to come forward and repent of our sins. I was amazed at the amount of people who flocked to the altar. I wasn’t the only one that needed this message. So I stepped out, went, and stood by a few of the guys who had introduced themselves to me. Actually, these are the same guys I’m getting ready to eat with right now.
They were praying out loud. They were asking God to forgive them of their sins. I started to do what they were doing. I can’t describe what happened next. It was as if somebody began power washing me with Jesus. I felt such peace and joy. I was crying but also happy.
A couple of the guys asked me if they could pray with me. At that moment, I was ready for anything God had for me. I prayed more and felt more. They were asking God to bless my family. How could they know my marriage was on the rocks?
After service, this same group of guys asked me if I wanted to go eat with them. I did, and I guess you could say the rest is history.
I’ve done nothing but grow from that first experience at church. Now my whole family is emerging as disciples of Jesus, and I live my life to make Him famous. I really appreciate my church family.
I hope that we start growing soon. We haven’t had too many people come and visit lately. I’m starting to wonder how many people even want Jesus. People must not like the straight forward preaching. People come, but they never come back. We need to work on that. Maybe we need a different light scheme.