The Story of How I Came to Church Part 4 (Final) Coming to Emmanuel
I had really enjoyed and benefitted Contemporary Chriatian Music, but John and his friends spent a bit of time discussing how wrong it was. On our first date (a double date), I readily challenged him to show me one place in the Bible that would prove his points about this. He showed me several passages that did not convince me. We sort of put our disagreement about this "on the back burner." :~)
John and his friends were not happy about these issues of contemporary worship... and several of them were talking about leaving their church. After about two weeks of this, I finally got a day off that coordinated with John’s schedule to go to church with him. It was a Wednesday night. I walked in there with all of this swimming around in my head:
- Churches were full of apostates
- There was something wrong with the music at this church
- Preachers in these churches aren’t preaching the truth; if they did, these “pretenders” that are filling their pews would get up and leave
- The members of this church weren’t happy with these terrible changes that were happening
BUT… no one left!
Instead, during the message, several said, “Amen.” At the end of the message, they all stood up and sang a glorious hymn… with enthusiasm! Tears came to my eyes as I realized that for these five years this church had been less than 2 miles from my home. It was not full of apostates, there were plenty of real Christians all around me… and I knew it! I was so happy!
When John and I got out to his car, I turned to him and said, “What is wrong with you??????” I shared with him how amazed I was at a church full of Christians. I couldn’t believe that he was fussing over the incidental things like a beat in the music and songs projected on a screen… when he was so privileged to be a part of such a wonderful fellowship!
Don’t we do that as Christians a lot? We take each other for granted. We aren’t kind and tender-hearted as we should be. We don’t appreciate each other like we ought to. We aren’t humble and gentle. (Ephesians 4:1-3; 31-32) If we realized what it is like to be alone in the world and to have no fellowship, we would see how silly some of our bickering truly is. I’m guilty of it too.
A lot of John’s friends ended up leaving the church. He did too… for 7 months… because we got married and moved to MPLS. We talked about all of this a lot over those months and John came to see that he had really been taking the fellowship for granted. When we returned to this area, we returned to the Emmanuel Baptist Church and have been here ever since. By God’s protection, we trust this fellowship will remain as it has been for over 109 years and will continue to be a blessing to believers as well as a great outreach to our community.
Invite someone to church this week. :~)
Labels: stories for my book