Friday, January 7, 2011
I saw Michael Jackson's head burst into flames during that Pepsi commercial...
I remember vividly the Sunday morning that was to be my first at FFWBC in my small home town...
My now wife, Candice, wasn't even my then girlfriend, but she had been persistent in her invitation for me to attend her church one Sunday. Her eyes would sparkle as she described the people, the place and most importantly the Divine presence in the house of worship. She had grown up in the church and was as active as any youth that attended in the numerous ministries the church conducted.
Reluctant is an understatement for my initial feeling as I approached the entrance. I would carry with me through the doors that first Sunday morning an attitude near contempt. I realize today that my demeanor was much more a reflection of my own self-loathing than a true feeling toward any single person in attendance that Sunday.
After a few hand shakes and pleasantries with people I had known for many years, I parked myself near the back row almost perfectly diagonal from where Candice and her family sat. No way I was walking up there where they sat...the back of my head might burst into flames from the laser-like stares and feelings projected in my direction of ill-repute. I would have soon danced naked on Main Street that very moment...and I was completely sober!
Today, I look back on that day as a pivotal day in a new beginning for my life. Was I comfortable? Absolutely not! Did I run to the altar and fall on my face begging for God to forgive my many transgressions? Unfortunately no. But the one word that best describes that day, hands down, as I look back is...love.
God brought me to a place of His love, filled with His people, using one of His own. I get pretty emotional when I look back and think about it. My negative attitude was completely absorbed by people of His body doing what they were commanded to do...love your neighbor. Even if he's a bum like me.
I never imagined I could be as close again as I was with the church family I grew up with twenty years before walking through those doors on that Sunday morning. Again...I was wrong. I still love and cherish every single person from my first church. Many have been promoted to Glory, and I celebrate for them. My new church family is just as precious to me. As I sit at my laptop typing the last bit of this post with tears flowing down both cheeks...I thank God with ever fiber of my being for blessing me so greatly with the new church family He did, and for the new beginning He gave me that painful Sunday for just taking a single step in obedience.
May all my efforts be in service to Him and may He receive all the honor and glory for it all.