Since it's a holiday weekend there are no youth events at church this week. Mom and I went to the early service (for the first time in my life!), went to Starbucks, then came home and went to a local church. I must admit it was a bit strange to be double-dipping on church. It's as if saying the first sermon wasn't enough, I need a second one (but actually, the first sermon was more applicable). The weirdest part was taking communion twice in one day, especially considering how often I take communion throughout the rest of the year. When I though about it: I had sinned since the first time I took it today. I was aggravated with the driver who cut me off. I was snippy with the cashier who couldn't get my order right. I was frustrated with my sisters. My emotions were all out of whack. :-) But, this isn't a confessional.
Our church and this local church are merging in the near future, and we wanted to see what this church was like. The pastor started the service announcing there were more visitors than members among the 35 congregants present today. Wow! Later during the prayer, he prayed for Pastor Mike by name. Prayed for Pastor Mike's leadership, wisdom, and Godly obedience... Now that's not something we hear everyday. Our prayers for Pastor Mike are usually more jokes: prayers for safe travel and thanks that he's gone... It made me think of Bob's lesson last week at youth group about encouraging each other. Even though jokes and playful teasing can be good and funny, we need to show just as much love.
After church, we were talking to a woman we know from the area. She was so excited to see us because it's been awhile and asked us what brought us to church. We explained what church we were from and suddenly there were a plethora of people around us.
"You're from there?! We've seen your beautiful facilities! Are you a part of this ministry? When does this pastor preach next because we've never heard him? We love everything your church is doing! We're so excited for the merger!"
To put it lightly, they were ecstatic! They are anxiously awaiting this merger to come to fruition. It's so exciting to see God working from the other side. Any reservations I had about the merger before have now been eliminated. Even though I'm not always keen on some of the things my church does and some of their choices, this is a good choice.
Learning to see the other side of the story,
PS. I know it was not ironic that the pastor preached on Isaiah and read the benediction from Ephesians. :-)
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. " Isaiah 49:16