Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
My daughter (Tracy) attended Napa Valley College as a teenager. She met a person who attended Hillside Christian Church. She invited her to attend a youth service and met some amazing people there. She would invite her brother (Chad) to attend the youth service. Both of my teenagers loved it there. Some time would go by and they both wanted us to attend their church.
My husband and I would talk about changing churches. We made that decision over 15 years ago and no regrets. The Pastor would move on to another church and we prayed for God to send the right Pastor to Hillside. It took about one year then, Pastor Eric and Angela would be sent there. They now have been our Pastors for over 13 years. God has open doors for our family to serve in ministry at this church. It is located at 100 Anderson Road if you don't have a home church and looking for one.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
MEETING TOGETHER ~
I was talking to someone last night about life as a teenage girl. I was 18 years old when my dad died and my mom wanted to die. I didn't know how to help her stop crying and thought maybe church could help her. I didn't understanding a lot of how God works or why things happen the way they do. Church is a place of community and meeting together. Not everyone is perfect or makes right decisions. The Bible says we have all sinned and that's the truth. I found myself angry at God at 18 years old. That is where I would also meet my husband and a new way of life.
Yes, there are church hurts and disappointments. I find it like a family at times. We make mistakes, ask forgiveness and still love one another. Each of us experiences something different and yet the same. A true love of God that enters our hearts and good decisions need to be made. The Bible speaks of our lives being an example of Jesus and treating others right. The truth is, I have gotten hurt inside of a church in my younger years. People passing judgement and speaking of things they just didn't know the complete story about. But God raised me up passed the hurts. People are just people and yes they can say wrong things, do wrong things and we must forgive. The Bible also speak of forgiving.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Wow, that's a lot of forgiving! I think of my own mistakes of life and so thankful for another chance. God is faithful to us and it's about a church building but a relationship with God. Each of us hold our own responsibility of our own choices. After I started attending my church in Napa, I found a true desires to keep pressing forward. A true desire to help others overcome hurtful things and see a true love from God. He does restore lives and I wouldn't know where I would be today without saying yes to God.
I have met people at Hillside who decided to move on from my church. I still have a connect with them because God connects lives for purpose. There are many churches all over and where you go is important too. Serve from the middle of your heart and guard it against people who just say wrong things. Guard against the plan of the enemy of your soul to take you out. You were created to make a difference no matter where you go to church. It's important to hear the word of God, to plan hope everyday of life and to press forward. I am so thankful for real friendships I have since starting this church years ago.
One action speaks so much louder than words. I also co-lead (Darlene) a service for Women at Hillside on Wednesday nights. We have special memories of what God has done over the years. A place that feels right and God moves weekly. A place that new things happen each week too. This open door to ministry has been going for over 10 years now. Darlene and I are also known as Speedy and Sparkie. Nick-names given and so thankful for leading together. God has placed other women with us who faithfully help us (Lori, Marjorie, Heather, Diane).
Giving a big thank you to you (who read my blog). I know your time is valuable and I try to keep my post no longer than 3 minutes to read. God is faithful in all seasons of life. I don't know what you are going through but God does. If you don't have a church, find one. It's an open door to connecting with people and making a difference in their lives. It's not only in their lives, but your life. My life has changed greatly because of one yes to God.
Even in the hardest days of life, I have people who contact me and share hope. We don't need to walk this life alone, when we can meet new people each week. I prayed for real friendships and I have them. My prayers continue for you, your family and friends. I miss people who are not in my church anymore but always in my heart. I make special time for them and know that greater things are ahead for them too. Friendships are forever and God given.
God, I realize that some people get hurt in church and never want to go back. I ask you today to heal hurts, mend broken relationships. heal hearts and help people to move forward. This is the Christmas season and I ask largely for hurting people today. Create miracles and helps others not to feel alone. Also, help all of us to be lead by your spirit of hope and encouragement to ourselves plus others! AMEN
Happy new day!