Monday, March 15, 2010

As I Preach on "The Church"...

“remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father….”1st Thess. 1:3

I can’t help to think about the impact the local church has had on my life as I preach through our series on “The Church” during our Sunday morning worship. I think about my very early grade school years at Morningside Baptist Church in Valdosta, Ga. where the Lord did a work in my heart and brought me to salvation - a place where my Grandmother and Aunt still attend over 30 years later…Wow, what that church has held to under the leading of Dr. Wayne Robertson. Through the years I have called Bro. Wayne for counsel and he has always shown grace and wisdom. I think of Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga. where my Dad served as Youth Pastor and then later as Co-Pastor. I think of the men and women there that to this day, mean so much to my life. I was ordained out of Second Baptist, I was married at Second Baptist, but most importantly, I learned the Word of God at Second Baptist. I think of men and women who loved me enough to teach me the Word of God…
I think of the Kingdom impact these two churches have had - the stands they have taken through the years, the eternal investments made through student ministries and children’s ministries, the help that was given to me during Seminary, the men of God that filled these pulpits week in and week out, and then the countless men that are preaching the Gospel and ladies who are on the mission field today out of these churches. As I reminisce, I think about the way the Lord used His people to impact my life and my love for Him. I think about the times I was corrected by people who were not my parents, but loved me enough to get involved and correct, or get my parents involved to correct. All of this reminds me how blessed I was to basically spend the first part of my life (early grade school) at Morningside and was taught the Word of God, then only to go to Second Baptist where from about 9 years old until I was married, I was a part of that body. Each of these churches have men and women, whom I grew up under, that are still apart of those bodies and serving as deacon’s, teachers and in many other areas. I say, that should be what every church strives to attain; generations of families that have served together, cried together, laughed together during the great times and difficult times. Sure, these churches, just as in every church, you have had some move, leave or those who have walked away from the faith (proving it false in their life to begin with). But those are not the one’s I remember - I remember those who I see when we visit family in Warner Robins even today…those that used to have a lot of hair - but now have no hair (or much more gray in their hair)! I think of those who have remained faithful through the years… those who have been dedicated to truth and to a local body – they invested their life in a body of believers for His glory. This is what I have been blessed enough to see from a young child, all the way up to adulthood… a church, a body of Christ with different gifts, personalities, issues, and quirks - but desiring to bring glory to God over all. As a boy I didn’t realize what was taking place - I didn’t realize what was happening, but as the song “I Want To Go” by Larnelle Harris says:

But all through the years
Your eyes and ears
Saw just enough of Christ among the people here
To know that you could trust
To know that you were loved
Until there came the day
Your heart could finally say (pray)

I want to go where You are going, Lord
I want to be among Your people where You are
I cannot live my life alone
I don't know how
But You would not bring me this far to leave me now

This is what happened to me. Because I had parents that didn’t ask me if I wanted to go to Church, but made me go – I was forced, at a young age to watch these people gather and worship and serve and glorify God. Thank the Lord for the many people who have made such an impact on my life, and thank God for His Body!

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