Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Purpose Revealed?

Once again, and still by myself, I took the children to Sunday morning church, this time to the local Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. We know of this church through their AWANA program, which the boys attended on Wednesday nights from Sept. through May. It's an actual denomination, with the following core values:

1. Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10

2. Prayer is the primary work of the people of God. Philipians 4:6-7

3. Everything we have belongs to God. We are only stewards. 1 Chronicles 29:14

4. Knowing and obeying God's Word is fundamental to all true success. Joshua 1:8

5. Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Matthew 28:19

6. Without empowerment of the Holy Spirit we can accomplish nothing. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

7. Achieving God's purposes involves taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. Hebrews 11:6

I only list these because I don't think this is a very widely known denomination. I had never heard of it until a few years ago, through a homeschooling mom. After becoming a mom I left the classroom and worked in California as a part-time homeschooling facilitator (something I mostly did from home). One of the moms I worked with talked a lot about her husband's work through this organization; at that time he facilitated and ran periodic short-term missions to Mexico. They moved the year after we did and now reside in Cody, Wyoming, where he is on the pastoral staff at a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church.

As I mentioned, we have gone to special services at this church, in addition to participating in their wonderful AWANA ministry. We liked them all and would have picked this church as our home, except that Don couldn't attend with us; I was never enamored with the idea of taking the children to church by myself. Going as a family was near and dear to our hearts. But, as #7 above states, change is necessary.

Getting there was smooth and easy; it isn't a dressy church, or at least that was my impression from previous events. Today I found that everyone is allowed to be an individual, with some wearing shorts and t-shirts, some in ties or dresses, some in jeans or slacks. Hallelujah! I was ready to do the happy dance after glancing around at the "dress philosophy".

Timmy's class is casual and hands-on, and is conducted in the nursery. There is only one other child around his age. He will go to their Children's Church when he reaches kindergarten age, which is a year from now. He turns five in early November, which is after the official K cut-off date for this area.

Emily liked having Timmy in there, and while she never felt comfortable enough to get down and play, she was laughing and having a good time (from a nice lady's lap) when I picked her up. Emily loves teenage girls and to her delight, two pre-teens happened to be in there helping their mom work the nursery. Emily must have really turned on the toddler charm; the young girls were sorry to see her go. lol

Daniel started out in the sanctuary with me, which is an arrangement I really love. The pastor does a "Moments With Children" segment, during which the children get to come up and talk about how the Lord is working in their lives. It is very moving, and speaks to me about this pastor's heart. We had already noticed his love for and devotion to children. He believes wholeheartedly in their value in God's eyes. Not only does he empower them by giving them this special part in the Sunday service, but he also, through the children's words, reminds the adults of the simple, child-like faith the Lord wants us to have.

I loved this and every other part of the service. I loved every single word of the pastor's sermon. It is clear that he believes his main job is to help us keep our eyes on Jesus, in all things, for all answers. Throughout most of my two hours there, I was in tears. Joyful tears. It felt like the long, three-year journey of finding a church home was finally at an end. I can't write all the reasons why, as I'm in tears now, but let me just say that this has been a Big Day.

We have had to really trust God throughout our three, single-income years here. It has been hard, but I've always known that someday a purpose would be revealed for our having to live so basically, so "poorly", compared to most Americans. There are everyday needs we must rely on God to meet; the numbers on the budget sheet simply don't work out. Today a possible answer, or purpose, may have been revealed. Dare I write it even? Are we to someday be missionaries? Is that the work for which we are being groomed? Missionaries have to know how to live with only basic necessities. They have to embrace such a lifestyle, without a woe-is-me mentality. No frills, sometimes no chocolate, no new clothes, no nice cars (or perhaps any car), no restaurants, no nice home - a basic bread and butter life, so that one can focus on the Great Commission.

Maybe just a fleeting thought in my head, or maybe the planting of a seed. A seed that will be watered through the fellowship and teaching at this church, whose focus is on reaching the lost.

Don called from work to ask how I liked the church, and I just burst into tears, and said, "I loved it. It's home." He said he had a good feeling about it too. He was at peace.


Fern said...

So glad for you. It makes such a difference to find a church where you feel like you belong.

Jeff said...

So glad you had a good experience at a CMA church. As a CMA missionary serving in the Balkans I'm always glad to hear that. God bless you!