CALL WEEKEND FOR SENIOR PASTOR CANDIDATE DR. ROBERT STEPHENS - DECEMBER 10 & 11

Lost and Found

By Pastor Carolyn Jenkins

Do any of you ever lay something down and you can’t remember where you put it?  My cell phone is the illusive item at our condo.  When I can’t find it, I stop and ask myself, “Where did you have it last?”  I retrace my steps and find where I left it.   Consider the similarity of this with two experiences from last week:

A friend I haven’t seen in years wandered into the church a few Sundays ago because she said she was in a mess.  As she recounted some of her recent experiences, I saw that physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, etc., she was in a MESS.  But she found her way to the church, the place she had previously found God.

Then last week, I had a text from a friend 6 states away requesting prayer for a child.  Of course, I am willing to pray.  I find it interesting that both of these folks are not engaged in a local church, yet they go back to the place where they remember God being present: this church.

Theologically, we know that God is omnipresent, all places all the time.  The psalmist reminds us there is no where we can go to be away from God’s spirit or God’s presence…

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  (Psalm 139:8-10)

…and truly that is a beautiful thought.  I also am aware that people can wander off a previous path and find themselves so disconnected that they can’t believe God is anywhere around them.  So they look back to a place where they remember discerning the presence of God made real around them.  They want to return to the last place they felt the presence of God within a loving group of people.

That should cause us to consider some things about FBCA.

1. When you come to Bible study or worship, do you remember that not everyone has had a great week, month, or year?    Some are grieving; some are mired down in difficulty; some are desperate.  Be the body of Christ to them with kind greetings, genuine smiles.  Be authentic.

2. When you come to worship, remember that many people are new to FBCA, perhaps first-time visitors.  When you find a seat, turn to those nearby and say, “Hi, I’m ____; how long have you been coming to FBCA?”.  Then introduce them to others near you.    

3. Remember that not everyone has had the times with God that you experienced.  Some may be checking out church for the first time; they may be struggling to understand what worship is, or why we sing loudly and pray silently and sit or stand.  So model your best behavior with a loving attitude for one who may be ‘checking it out’.

4. Some who come to church for the first time or the hundredth time may dress differently than you would choose.  Rejoice in their presence rather than their appearance.  Make them feel welcome.  

5. Many of us love church because of the relationships with people we have grown to enjoy.  However, if we rush to those we know, we ignore the ones we don’t know yet. Remember the old campfire song, “make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

6. Easter is a time many people choose to look for a church or attend reluctantly with family.  Your attitude in the pew will make the difference between visitors deciding to return or not.  That may be the difference in whether they decide to seek God or not.  

Surely God is everywhere; but in the words of Jacob, “Surely the Lord is in this place!” When we gather to worship God, we make obvious the presence of the Lord.  So, for everyone that gathers at 2932 King Street, let’s spruce up our attitudes to reflect the mind of Christ who told us to love one another.  We keep the doors open for those who have wandered from the faith, those who have forgotten what it is like to serve God, and those who are struggling and lonely.

Now if I can find my cell phone…  
 
 

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