Sunday, December 16, 2012

Church "Shopping"

Hello my friends!  On Thursday I posted that it looked like rain but not to get my hopes up... well I got them up anyway and we enjoyed two days of almost non-stop rain (I'm not saying that my hopes had anything to do with it, I'm just saying "Yay, rain!").  Here is a picture I got from our place during a break in the rain:


It is really beautiful here in its own way.  Today on our way home from church Jared and I were admiring a view that reminds us of a scene in the movie Cars, a scene that always made us just a bit homesick for Arizona.  Now we get to see it live and remember the movie.

Today we took our next step in making Bullhead City home--we visited a new church.  This is actually a very new experience for both of us.  Honestly we have NEVER been on this end of church visiting.  When we lived at home church was chosen for us.  Then we entered the church ministry program at HIU and church became a place to fulfill internship and volunteer requirements.  After college (and during really) church was employment and the focus was on the job description, what type of boss the senior minister was, how well Jared could interact with the staff and whether or not our vision/beliefs/mission/etc lined up with the church's.  I do believe that our experience in ministry has actually made it easier to find a church rather than harder and here's why:

I titled today's spiel "Church 'Shopping'" because that is what we have been told we are doing.  But here's the problem--church is not a consumer good or service.  It's not about me.  The minute we approach church as something that is designed for us we have completely missed the point.  Church is, and has always been, about worshipping our Creator--just like every other part of our life.   We don't attend (or even visit) a church looking for an experience.  We go to bring glory to God.  As a pastor's wife this is something that is assumed but I truly believe this is true of everyone who calls him/herself a believer.  We go to church to serve, not to be served; to grow, not to be entertained; to worship God, not to "feel something"; to encourage, not to socialize.  I could seriously write several blogs on Biblical vs cultural attitudes toward church but instead I'll just say that if you are a Christian and you aren't committed to a local church then you need to get past your excuses, find a church and involve yourself in it.

Back to our Sunday.  Well we talked about it a bit and came up with a list of what we are looking for then did some online research and narrowed it down to a few options. The church we visited is called City Bible Church and we really like it.  We went for Sunday School then stayed for the worship service.  The girls did well and seemed to really enjoy it.  Jared and I attended an overview of Jude that was led by the senior pastor and we found him to be knowledgeable and easy to interact with.  They have a MOPS group that I was invited to by at least 4 people and AWANA for the girls which I am really excited about since two of my best friends in the whole world were part of it and they have been a huge encouragement to me in the area of Bible memorization.  The church has a churchwide community service project coming up in January which sounds awesome and they have a thriving benevolence program which tells us that they put their money where their preaching is.  Overall we were really encouraged by what we saw and heard and found many people to be friendly and welcoming.  We will be out of town next week but after that we'll visit again and look into getting more involved.

In other news Jared is recovering slowly but I fear I may be coming down with it myself.  So be it.  This weekend has been filled with Christmas shopping, hot chocolate (a tradition for whenever it rains since the kids have never lived where it rains often), looking at "cool rocks" that the girls find in the yard, sneaking cookie dough and watching portions of various Christmas movies (I have yet to catch a whole one).  My sister comes down from Flagstaff tomorrow and I look forward to spending some time with her.  I personally am struggling with the transition much more than I expected and am ashamed at my own pettiness, pride, irritability and selfishness.  (Sigh)  I guess it's easy to be mature when everything is going your way but I am thankful for the situations that force my immaturity to the surface where I can recognize it, repent and give it over to God once again.

Tonight I leave you with Reliant K's Falling Out.  I definitely feel like I keep falling on my face but each fall reminds me of God's grace and love for me.  Maybe someday I'll learn Paul's secret to contentment and echo with him "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."  (Philippians 4:11-13).

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