God did something kind of amazing today…I mean, He’s amazing every day, but He was especially amazing today 🙂
Because it was my last Sunday in The City, my last opportunity until August to attend a service at IBC with my church family, Satan was so totally pushing for me just to stay home.
“You need to finish up your homework for finals.”
“You need to start packing.”
“You really need to get more sleep and maybe even go to the gym.”
While all of these were totally true, I was NOT about to miss what God had for me this morning, what opportunity I would be presented with to be made a part of His day. I wanted to be with Him, to know Him better, and Satan was NOT getting in the way.
Also because it was my last Sunday, I invited Bree to church, which made me very excited 😀 I had of course told her lots of stories about my many adventures and conversations with my friends, and I had of course told my friends about my conversations with her. So it was about time they met. I wasn’t sure if God was going to speak to her or make her think, though I knew He was totally more than capable of doing so, but I did know He would use the day for something.
So we got dressed and headed to church. I was so excited 😀 When we arrived, not many of my people were there. But as they came in, as introductions were made and formalities gave way to mingling, everything fell together. My friends were all very gracious and welcoming, as if I should’ve expected anything less 🙂
This morning in Sunday school, Sam gave everyone a card to write out what the Gospel means to them. As I sat there, figuring out what to write (because I can’t seem to approach anything without thinking it through first, which I suppose isn’t a terrible habit to get into but it’s certainly time consuming), I began to think about the purpose of the Gospel.
The Gospel is a constant. It’s the underlying understanding of everything I do, the catalyst of the most important, death-defying (pun intended), life-changing, all-consuming, beautiful, romantic, wonderful relationship in my life, which fuels every decision I make and gives me every breath that passes through my body. Am I perfect because of this relationship? Of course not, but that’s the point. The point of knowing God and knowing who He is through the combination of the Gospel and the rest of His immutable Word is to see that I’m not perfect, to see that He is perfect and that this still doesn’t keep Him from loving a sick-minded, twisted, disgusting, selfish sinner like me. Jesus Christ dying on the cross, which makes sense considering His divine character, since He was 100% man and 100% God, but doesn’t make sense if you think of Him as only a good man, was the ultimate showing of God’s love for humanity. It’s this act of love that acts as an avenue for me, for you, for everyone, to want to know who exactly died for them and how He could be capable of such love. And that is the eternal life that the Gospel leads to, not just being accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven when we die, but to know God and to know His Son.
So we headed into morning service and had a wonderful time praising God, or at least I did. It was wonderful 🙂 We then sat down to listen to the preaching, done by guest preacher Lonnie Moore. He started by singing and oh my goodness I felt physically blown away by his voice, by the energy he put into belting out in the most wonderful manner praises to Jesus. It was amazing!
But then, as I sat and listened and we went into Mark 3:31-35, I suddenly felt very uncomfortable. Bree is Catholic, which means she not only has a priest as the head of the church but she also venerates the Virgin Mary. Well, he preached all about how Mary is the same as everyone else, how Mary needed the savior she bore just as much as I did, how Mary has no special place above anyone else. He also talked about how we don’t need a man to go to God for us anymore…we can go straight to the original, to the Source, because Jesus Christ became our ultimate mediator.
Throughout the service, all I could think about was how I was going to apologize to her for the message…but then I wondered why I would apologize for Truth. Why would I apologize for Jesus? Granted, the message definitely targeted her faith, was definitely an in-your-face message, but still. That’s where Bree is, so that’s where Jesus met her.
Afterwards I walked Bree to the train with Edward. The two of them talked and I lagged behind, observing my surroundings. When I returned to church, I sat in the sanctuary during choir practice and did homework in between services.
The afternoon service was just as amazing as the first, if not more so. Pastor Moore sang again, and again I was amazed. He just put so much everything, so much of himself into the song and the singing of the song that there was no way you couldn’t sit and listen, sit and watch. He preached on what it means to be a Christian, and he distinguished the meanings of “disciple” and “Christian,” a title of a follower to a derogatory term. Pastor Moore described being a Christian as being Christ-like, which, when applied to ourselves, is pretty egotistical if you think about it. He talked about how we should strive to be Christians, to be Christ-like. We don’t become Christians the moment we’re saved or the moment we’re baptized or when men become preachers, but rather we strive to be Christ-like every day. Andy Stanley did a series on this same message, about how we should strive to be disciples rather than just walking around saying we’re Christians, only he preached it from the perspective of seeing the word as meaningless, as having myriad definitions and not really meaning anything, something we shouldn’t necessarily strive for. It’s interesting to see how the same message can sound so differently when it’s put into the souls of two different preachers. God is really clever like that.
I went to babysit about six children with Arial after service. A bunch of adults in the church were fellowshipping with the preachers and their wives here for the East Coast Baptist Fellowship (the preaching conference going on at the church right now), so we watched their children 😀 I had a lot of fun.
When I got home, after Sam and Maria had taken me home and I had brought in more giant cardboard boxes (courtesy of Sam) to pack away my things, I sat down and was hit once again with the fact that I’m leaving in less than six days. It’s odd…I thought I would be homesick for only my Shire, for a The Sticks. But, truth be told, I’m getting a little homesick for Brooklyn and I haven’t even left yet.
Just looking back on this year, this first year of college, God kept me out of so much trouble, blessed me with so many miracles, and spoiled me with so many wonderful relationships that I feel really silly for worrying about it all in the first place. I guess this is what Solomon meant by something’s end being better than its beginning 🙂 But I’m coming back of course 😀 and then we get to start the next adventure: Sophomore Year.
This next week is going to be absolutely psychotic, but I know it will evaporate before I have time to panic. Mom and Jimmy are coming on Saturday. I have something going on every day of this week and no time for dilly-dallying. This should be fun 😀