I never know when I set down at the computer what I am going to write about. Even if I have an idea in my mind, it will sometimes change as the post evolves. But, I have had this subject on my mind for a few weeks, so I guess I will forge ahead.
I hated church as a child. There, I said it. We attended church every time the doors were opened, but I HATED it. I would fidget, squirm, look out the windows, and pass notes to my friends. I did everything but listen. None of that mattered though, because every Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday night we headed out the door. I attended a small church, there were probably only around 50 or so on a Sunday morning, and about half of those attended the night services. My grandmother only lived a little ways from the church, so we would go to her house after church for lunch. That part I did like!
I don’t know if it was just our church, or our preacher, but it sure seemed like all I heard when I was growing up was about Hell. fire and brimstone, not even a drop of water to quench your thirst. I know as an adult that all that is true, and I can understand the “scare you straight” approach to preaching. But, I hated it. I can remember thinking how can God be so wonderful, if He is making it so hard to be with Him? All I could envision was a camel trying to go through the actual eye of a needle. That is impossible!!! How was I ever going to be able to make it to Heaven, if that stupid camel had to go through the needle?
When we moved to Grundy, my children were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I had not been attending church, and it was eating at me. I guess some of the teachings I had heard as a child took root. Thanks, Mom! I was brand new to the area, and I had no idea what church to attend. I got out the phone book, and looked up churches. I found one that was just a couple miles away, so I drove by to see for sure where it was and what time the services where. I got the babies up and dressed that Sunday, and we headed off. I hate going to new places. I hate feeling uncomfortable and unsure. So, this was a huge step for me. Everybody was welcoming, and I actually saw Sandy (now a BFF) there with her children, so I felt more at ease.
Then came the preaching. Boy was I in for a shock! There was no fire and brimstone. No eye of the needle, no vengeful God. Instead there was Grace and Forgiveness. Instead there was welcoming and understanding. I left church feeling like I might actually have a chance, instead of feeling like I was the only sinner in the place and everyone was looking at me. I felt like everyone in the building was a sinner, and the Lord welcomed all of us to Him. I couldn’t believe how wonderful and encouraging church could be.
Do we encourage others to come to the Lord? I have never been vocal about my faith, I don’t like it when I feel someone is trying to ram something down my throat. I have subscribed to the philosophy that I want others to see Jesus shine through me. I know of several women I admire who fit that statement, so that is my goal. But I recently read about a gentlemen, who is now a preacher, who was never invited to church until he was in his late 20’s. He never knew about Christ or His teachings. How horrible would it have been if that one person had not taken the time to invite him to church? So, I declaring today to be “Friend Day.” I am inviting all of you to attend church with me. Even if you are not in Vansant, not in Virginia, or not in the United States, I am still inviting you to attend church. Reach out to someone you know, and invite them to come with you. It would be a shame, if no one had EVER invited them. Remember, fire and brimstone.
Have a blessed day!✝️