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Church Surch, Week 18

Church Surch, Week 18
Jefferson Church of the Nazarene
"Iron makes iron sharp; so a man makes sharp his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

Why not tour the city of Jefferson, since I arrived early? The houses, built over fifty years ago, stood with green grass against red bricks, a half century of quality construction, followed by care.

Fifty years ago, my preconceptions of Nazarene churches took shape. My neighbor Danny Rollins lived next door to a Nazarene church, and attended there. His parents always looked like they'd been baptized in lemon juice and were strict and staid.

My sister told me, in hushed tones, that the church was weird.

Flash forward four score and ten years, and I entered my first Nazarene church.  Kaboom! My prejudices evaporated. Two keyboards, three guitars, and a cacophony of sound crushed my preconceptions, as neighbor greeted neighbor around the sanctuary.

A song, a few announcements, and worship. We sang contemporary songs, like 'O
Praise Him (All This For a King)':
"How infinite and sweet
This love so rescuing
Oh how infinitely sweet
This great love that has redeemed..."
And we sang 'How He Loves Us:'
"And He is jealous from me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I'm unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me..."
What a magnificent time of worship, just telling God we love Him and receiving His love in return.
This week the church celebrated 'Small Group Sunday', and Pastor Rod encouraged us to get into a small group, as it can be a vital part of growth and maturity. He's right, too. People can go to church, meet others, exchange platitudes and leave with the same issues crushing their spirit. I considered signing the sheet and attending, but thought the commute too onerous. Go ahead, call me a wimp.  Church broke up and we filed out, me an island among friends greeting one another. I hung about a bit, working toward the door. Headed to the bike. The man who had sat in front of me commented on it, and we talked for around ten minutes. Why does he attend here? His wife was dying from diabetes and her failing kidneys, and no one from the church stopped by. But the pastor of the Nazarene church, 25 miles away did. That's putting shoes on the gospel. Fred's been attending ever since.

On a personal level, this service helped me tremendously. I've been struggling with hatred and bitterness toward some people who are really screwing me (present tense, it ain't over) and I needed to let go of the hate. And who would have thought that this church would explode fifty years of preconceived notions? I judged this church based on bad information I received at nine years of age.

What are your preconceived notions of the church? Of Christianity? What are our opinions based upon?

QG and I went out for dinner and stumbled into a Bikers For Christ group. Funny because I've been trying to hook up with them for three states! We enjoyed some food and fellowship together. I'm humbled as they were visiting the sick today, and tomorrow will give a motorcycle escort for a funeral. Very cool people.  

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