Some things just shouldn't be repeated. But then, other things should. In an environment of declining membership in churches and conversations filled with dissension and negativity, I offer something different:
IN THE HALLS on my way to Sunday School: "How are you?" was a common greeting. But folks also stopped and really listened to the other's reply. "Did you know Kelly was in a head-on collision? Everyone is fine. Praise the Lord."
~~"Are you staying for the Senior's appreciation dinner?" (heard again and again during the open assembly in the department)
~~"What a great sermon!" (heard when someone entered the Sunday School department.)
~~"Wasn't the mother-daughter luncheon wonderful yesterday? I just loved Beverly's chalk-talk. I need to go tell her how much I enjoyed it."
~~"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...there's just something about that name." (heard wafting from a bathroom stall).
~~"Hey, come with us to the Senior's appreciation dinner." (heard in the hallways after the second worship service.)
PRAYER REQUESTS: "A friend's lost sister tried to commit suicide. Pray that she comes to Jesus." ~~"A fellow I work with lost a two-month old daughter to SIDS this week. She was under the care of a babysitter." ~~"Paul and Glenda's seventeen-year-old granddaughter has melanoma cancer--third time recurrence." ~~"My brother has an aggressive form of prostate cancer--pray he comes back to the Lord." ~~"My husband has to have stints put in." ~~"Kim's dad is out of ICU, she just lost her husband not long ago...she's a very young widow, pray for her in this difficulty." (heard in open assembly in Sunday School)
DURING SUNDAY SCHOOL our lesson was on Appreciation. As we studied the scriptures (led by none other than my wonderful husband), many folks shared how various people made an impact on their lives:
"My grandmother was a "hard-shell Baptist"; I never had one prayer said in my home by my parents, but my grandmother prayed for me and gave me my first Bible. She was a constant influence in my life."
"I was raised Catholic. I had a hard time coming to this church. My kids begged me and I'm here today because of them and Harry Morgan who was my first Sunday School teacher."
"If it hadn't been for this church, and the love from this department, I have no idea how I would have made it through this year and my heart attack and financial problems. Did ya'll know you bought me a lawn-mower with an electric starter?"
"My grandmother repeatedly told me throughout my life that God was in control, and I've come to really see that. She never talked negatively--always had a positive word of faith for me."
"When we first came to this church, we'd left one where we'd been terribly hurt. You all ministered to our family's needs, especially Gene and Freddie."
"My grandchildren only get to come here once a month and it is the only church experience they have. They love it and look forward to church more than they do going to the movies. It says alot for the church fellowship and love here."
ANNOUNCEMENTS: "We got the roof put on Locust Grove church. God blessed us with plenty of men to do the job."
"We need a group of men to help with repairs for a sister church here in town. If anyone wants to volunteer, we will be working on it May 17th." (Later, Laverne told me they put a steeple up on that church for them not long ago. They were so excited.) So was I.
"I'm going to be walking for Walk-For-Life if anyone wants to contribute, I'm passing the sign-up sheet around. If anyone wants to walk, then here are some extra sheets."
WHAT I DIDN'T HEAR AT CHURCH:
Criticizing. Condemning. OR Complaining.
WHAT I SAW AT CHURCH: Two more children baptized. Five families come forward to join our fellowship. One adult and one teenager for baptism. Hundreds of people greeting them AND one another after the service.
AND THAT'S JUST THE MORNING GATHERING! That night we had the youth choir lead us in worship. One gal had 6 years of perfect attendance in choir. Another girl had 14 years perfect attendance (and she's going on mission to Russia this summer). What an amazing day in the Lord! I wish I could have told you everything I saw and heard. selahV
[copyrighted, SelahV Today, 2008]