Monday, November 22, 2010

Church Blessings

Back in October, I encouraged y'all to learn from our mistakes & love your church through thick & thin. I stressed the importance of community & lamented over the lack thereof in our own lives.

Later that same month, I hinted that we believed that a new spiritual season might be budding in our lives. This is what I'd like to share with you.

For close to 3 ½ years - ever since we married & I moved here - we've driven a 2-hour round trip to church on Sunday. This after Michael's worked all night. Because of the distance &, later, the size of our church, being part of the community of the church was rather difficult. Throughout our marriage, Michael & I have prayed for God to plant a church closer to us where we might worship Him in spirit & in truth & be part of a community of believers. Michael was even more specific; he didn't just want any pastor, he wanted a SBTS-trained pastor. "You have not because you ask not." ;-)

A little more than a month ago, we began visiting an area church. We were honestly nervous about going, not knowing what to expect. Michael had actually been a member of this church (& avid part of the youth group) during its fundamentalist/revivalist days, so we were unsure. But, we'd heard some really wonderful things, particularly about the sound preaching, as well as the pastor's family & the warm community of the body. So, we took the plunge, gussied ourselves up (okay, not really; "gussied" is just fun to say), & headed over. I had butterflies in my stomach. I am so uncomfortable being surrounded by strangers who all know each other. We took one step in the door, & the usher said, "Michael Boyd!" From him down to the literally dozen people who made their way to our pew to greet us that morning, we felt enveloped. And that's only grown! We've thrown ourselves headlong into this body. Right after our first Sunday, we went to the Wednesday night prayer meeting. That week it was a Bible study for the men & women. I won't lie, I felt so out of place being the "new girl" in the room. I wanted to latch on to Michael & not let him leave me. I think I even gave him the puppy eyes. But, the moment that the pastor's wife - Mrs. T - greeted me, I felt so welcomed. She came up to me glowing, took both of my hands in each of hers, & told me how glad she was for me to be there. I instantly loved her. Her husband is just as warm. We talked with the associate pastor at the dinner that night, & were very impressed with him & his wife. The next morning I went to another ladies' Bible study headed by Mrs. T & was delighted when she exclaimed my name with arms raised upon my entry. This still brings a smile to my face. And then, we've been shown such love & care through the trials of our loved one's possible illness & Ginger's cancer. People have sent emails, commented through this blog, & stopped by our pew to get updates, offer encouragement & praise, & let us know they're praying. As we've gotten to know the people, we've grown to love them more & more. You wouldn't think everyone could be so genuinely welcoming & loving, but they are. I think it's because of the Word that's preached here.

Of course, that's the most important thing. The Word must be preached. The Gospel must be proclaimed. And it is! Every Sunday we leave the Sunday School that's led by the associate pastor & are thrilled with the meat that's been served up. Each sermon features the Gospel front & center. Seriously, we leave exulting in God's truth! We're being fed God's Word & are being known & loved by the body. And if that weren't enough, there is a passion for the lost present here, too. We haven't been there long enough to have delved into this area, but they sponsor Compassion children, which immediately earned points in my book! ;-) I know they're involved in Teen Challenge, Operation Christmas Child, Lottie Moon, & there are some other opportunities that I believe are being explored. And, the associate pastor's going to lead a church plant in collaboration with another local church in an area of town that's basically devoid of Gospel-preaching churches.

We were so despondent regarding our church situation. We honestly pined for a community of God-fearing believers to live life with. We truly believe that God has led us to this church. And we feel - we are - so blessed! So thankful!

Oh! And did I mention that the associate pastor was trained at SBTS? ;-)


Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful the Lord led you to our fellowship. I look forward to getting to know you guys better!

Lynn said...

We're so glad you guys are coming, and we look forward to getting to spend more time with you. Thank you for encouraging your pastor and his family with such kind words about the church they lead.

The Boyds said...

Thank you for making us feel so welcomed, Leslie. We're looking forward to getting to know you better, too.

Lynn, we feel truly blessed to be taught by your husband & father-in-law. The godliness that exudes from your entire family is beautiful & just draws us to you. And please don't feel like that's flattery; I mean it. We are thankful for y'all & are so looking forward to spending more time with y'all.