Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Special Thanks to a Special Church Family

I am going to post something rather personal today.  I have always been someone who was great at being grateful but terrible at showing gratitude.  My mother can attest to Christmas mornings when though I loved everything that "Santa" brought me, I just never really showed it.  Of course feeling grateful is rather pointless if you never show that gratitude so today I want to right a wrong that has been eating away at me. 

Before I was married, I lived in Old Bridge and attended a small but close-knit church with solid Biblical  teaching and great fellowship.  These were things I did not fully appreciate until I moved some 90 minutes away after I was married.  We still get up there once a month or so, but it is not enough and they are a family I sorely miss and they are a family I learned to appreciate way too late.  

Before I met my wife, I was pretty much lived in the loner mentality.  I went to church alone.  I left church alone.  I traveled alone.  In fact, just about everything I did was alone.  I was not lonely, in fact I kind of enjoyed being alone.  Being a loner does not make for good friend-making and so while I went to men's group, potlucks, Sunday services, etc, I never really had a friend.  I had "church" friends, but that was all they were.  I am not blaming them, in fact, I remember exactly when I came to the realization of the futility of the loner mentality.  I was at a friend's house watching a football game with my then fiance and I joked with someone there about never inviting me around before meeting her to which she replied "because you never stuck around long enough."  She was right, of course, but what really got me was that she even noticed that I never stuck around.  If only I had stuck around. 

Once I was attending with my very outgoing wife I suddenly was forced to stick around and I can not begin to say how much of a blessing it has been to me.  In our final few months there before moving we have become closer and closer to that whole church family and in the end they were an invaluable support.  They turned a potluck into an engagement party, they volunteered their time and did our premarital counseling which involved many late nights, Pastor Ed was invaluable in organizing and being a large part of the service and not even in his church, they helped with the children at our wedding, they volunteered a generator for our wedding, they always remind me that they are praying for me in my long commute, they send random emails from time to time to let us know they are praying for us, and they have been a source of blessings and encouragement that have been a great joy to our lives.  And so at long last, and with all sincerity, I just want to thank Crossroads Calvary Chapel for being such an amazing part of my life and that if my wife as well.

Of course there is a lesson in all this.  First there is the lesson I learned about myself.  You can not expect people to love you if you never spend time with them or let them get to know you. People do want to love you, but you have to give some kind of sign that you might actually want to be loved. That was my error.  Please do not make the same.  Do not grow cold and bitter at church because you are not meeting like-minded brothers and sisters in the Lord if you are not putting in any effort to do so.  Either that or find a church where people do follow Christ's command about loving one another.

And more importantly, I learned what a loving church family should look like.  I know that I thanked Crossroads in this post, but the glory really belongs to God.  All Crossroads did was let Jesus be magnified in their lives and in their example to me. They are not some group of super Christians, but Christians who believe God comes first in their lives.  They are Christians living under the power of the Holy Spirit.  They are Christians who have been a tremendous influence and example to me, even if they do not realize it.  And they are the only ones who I actually fear reading this blog (especially Pastor Ed) because I trust they know God's word and I trust they would share any error I made in my studies.  I love my family at Crossroads Calvary Chapel, but I do not love them for who they are, I love them for who Christ made them into. 
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful....we just recently began to attend and have been abundantly blessed with solid biblical teaching and a family in Christ.

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  2. Aww Ben, I am so thankful that we got to know you better. And that our relationships last for eternity! The Lord is working on us all.

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  3. I, too, am thankful that we have gotten to know both of you better over time. You have enriched our fellowship in the Lord. You remain in my prayers, especially the long commute (complete with sun glare this time of year). Keep blogging and sharing the Word!

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  4. Typing w/ my thumbs here so it will be short. I'm thankful for both of you & will keep you both in my prayers! So glad you visit us when you can!

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