Tag Archives: reynolda church

Call It a Win.

Our church used to have this banner in our worship space that read “Seek, Find, and Win for Christ”. I never really liked it, mostly because for me, it called to mind a crusade-style jaunt into foreign places to force them into being Christians. I know that isn’t how they meant it when they hung them up, but for some reason, that’s what it conjured in me.

However, this week my century-old church launched its third campus, its second remote (in comparison to the original church building) worship venue. This has been over eight months in the making, including hundreds of people working, volunteering, making calls, donating money, crunching numbers, designing spaces, planning (and planning, and planning some more) and finally executing our first public worship service in the venue this morning. It was a beautiful thing to behold, all our work, prayers, and hopes for the project actually coming to fruition. I knew that God had shown up. He had shown up by preparing the space. He’d shown up by preparing hearts, working out kinks, bringing new people into our space, and just showing up there, in the moment, present in our worship and our teaching, in our conversations and prayers.

After I had time to slow down a little bit, and think on the morning, I was reminded of that banner. I think that for the first time, I felt the sort of victory that the banner had intended to depict. I thought of our advertising we’d been putting out over the past couple of months, preparing a community for a new opportunity in their area to get connected and hear about Jesus – the seeking of new people to come alongside us in our journey. I thought about people who told us they came today in response to invitations of current members, or those who came as a result of a radio ad or a Facebook sponsored post – people who had found us and would now hopefully be wooed by their Savior. I thought of the wonderful morning. A morning wrought with hard work and months of planning, but a morning that went off mostly without a hitch, a well-attended and genuine worship service that planted its first few seeds in a community, in a group of peoples’ hearts – indeed, a win for Christ.

Because, as our pastor mentioned this morning, Christ is center of our services, and of our lives. He’s the reason we do what we do. He’s not just the reason for a season or a guy we idolize because there are some cool stories about him. He’s the reason we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Everything we do should be about him, even if it’s just raising our kids, going to our job, ordering coffee from the barista, or getting our groceries. Building his kingdom is what everything’s about. And if I had to guess, I’d say that he would consider this morning a win.

Thanks to Elaine Garrison for this amazing photo!

A Good Friday Prayer

Tonight, I helped lead worship at my church’s Good Friday service, as I’ve done for the past few years. It’s a truly beautiful service, somber, quiet, slow… but not without hope. Our pastors do an incredible job of planning this evening full of dramatic lighting, powerful songs, and the last words of Jesus as he prepared to give his life, and as he hung on the cross. It’s haunting.

When I got home, I was still in the mood the service had left me in. I was lost in thought, as I had been on and off all day. Good Friday has always been a sobering day for me. But as I put my youngest son to bed, I started to sing him one of the songs we had sung in the service. It’s appropriately called “Passion Song”, written by some friends of our worship pastor. (Click that link. It will bless your soul to hear it.) It’s based on John’s view of how Jesus’s last week went down. The pastor who spoke just before the song presented it perfectly, emphasizing how Jesus was John’s very best friend, the only person who had ever known him so completely. Here are the words, so you can see the powerful emotion packed in them…

I was with Him when He rode into town
And the crowds gathered round Him like a King
Their smiling faces joined a sea of branches waving
Though they were masquerading in the end

And my heart rose in my throat
When I heard them sing
Hosanna in the highest
Oooh oooooh oh

We went upstairs broke the bread and drank the wine
From the only living vine that we would taste
And I watch them take Him up the mountainside
Where He was crucified though innocent
And they mocked Him and cursed Him with their mouths
And told Him to come down if He was God

And my heart broke in my chest
When I heard Him say
Forgive them it is finished
Oooh oooooh oh

I remember in the garden
When He sweat like drops of blood
And how He begged the Father
Just to let Him pass the cup
I can still feel the anguish
When they pierced Him in the side
And how the ground beneath us shook
Upon the very moment that He died
Oooh ooh oh oh oh

Three days later we found an empty grave
And the stone was rolled away where He had been

Tears of joy streamed down my face
When the angel said
Oh fear not He is risen
Oh fear not He is risen
Oooh ooh ooh oooh oh oh oooh

You can see how this song would be lingering in my psyche, right? So I’m singing it to my son, as I’m settling him in for bed. And when I finally wipe the (my) tears away, and get to his goodnight prayer, I began to pray like always, and for some reason, I was led to utter the words, “…and thank You for giving Your Son. I could never give my son.”

And I cried some more.

You see, the sacrifice is beyond what any one of us could do. In the Old Testament, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. Whether he would’ve (or could’ve) actually gone through with it we’ll never know. There was a ram in the thicket, and God was preparing, even then, to give His very own son to save the world. Jesus willingly gave his life to pave the way for us to enter into fellowship with his Father. One of our pastors this evening titled it “a beautiful exchange”. His life for ours. What else could possibly be a better exchange for us?

Currently

Life just keeps on happening, folks. The busyness never goes away, so I’m just gonna take it head on and see who wins! Here’s a little update for what’s going on around here… I’m joining Becky in her link up as usual, so tell us what’s going on with you, too!currently button

Loving || the My Big Jesus podcasts. I was very behind, and I totally just spent a couple hours catching up. Hilarious, and even more hilarious because I know these guys. Check it out!

Learning || with some sensory play! We took some ideas from Pinterest about pine cleaners and strainers, and patterns with beads. They’re a hit, even if for a short time. 

   
Anticipating || some snow! I know we’re going to get some, but in NC, it may be a few more weeks yet. Or it could be tomorrow. Buuuuuuut the weather here changes every 30 seconds, so we’ll see.

nc weather meme
image from quickmeme.com
Playing || Spades! If you’ve never played, but you like card games, you should definitely start. It’s a four player game only, so it’s perfect for playing with couple friends. We’ve got two sets of people we play with pretty often, and I must say, I’m getting better!

Working || for a friend’s business making cold calls to possible clients. I love talking to people, so why not?! It’ll be a fun way to make a little extra cash and help out my friend. Has anyone ever done cold calls before?

Excited || to start the women’s service back up at my church this week! They take a 6 week break around the holidays, but Thursday is the first one of 2016! I’m excited to get that back into my routine, because I love the extra worship, and I adore the women in my small group. (The teachings are available here in case you’d like to watch/listen! They’re awesome!)

Well, what’s going on in your life? Tell me all about it!

Currently

Oh, November. I love you. Except for the rain. I don’t love that.

Here’s this week’s edition of Currently! Since it’s the first week of the month, I’m not only linking up with Becky at Choose Happy, but also with Anne In Residence and Jenna at Gold and Bloom.

currently button

Cooking || not much at all. I’m not ready to throw myself into holiday baking, and I’m not really a great cook, so I’ve taken a backseat on the food-making front. About the only thing I’m cooking right now is eggs. True story.

Planning || my worship services for the month. November is missions month at Reynolda, and our services are fairly centered around that. And since I have two Sundays (including this past Sunday) that I’m leading worship downstairs instead of at my normal service, I’m feeling the urge to be on the ball. I’ve already planned out this week’s, and I’ve got several songs I know I’ll use more than once, since I’m keeping the missions theme and hopping around venues.

Smelling || all the candles! I know it’s not time yet to get out my candles that smell like Christmas trees, but I have gotten out my cinnamon-smelling ones, and I’m totally loving it. 

 Appreciating || this time of year, in between fall and the holidays. I LOVE gearing up for Christmas and all that that entails, but this moment of rest in between Halloween and Thanksgiving is blessedly slow. November for the relaxing win.

Anticipating || lots of family time. Hubby’s family is having a reunion of sorts this weekend (and my mom will come to keep the kids for a few things), then next weekend my brother and his girlfriend are visiting. After that, it won’t be long until Thanksgiving. It’s nice that we’re going to see some of the family in short bursts, so that if we don’t get time together once, maybe we will the next time. We don’t feel so rushed. We’re also getting excited about a quick trip to Fort Worth in December for a family wedding, which also happens to be right at my 30th birthday! Hopefully we will find reasonable plane tickets and a few fun daytime things to do. I’ve never been to Texas!

Well, what about you? What’s going on in your November?