Church Surch, Week 23, Grace Fellowship Nashua, NH
"It is in our lives, and not in our words, that religion must be read."
Have you noticed that a 7-11 is on a street corner, so a Circle K pops up across the street? In Nashua, just like tons of older cities, Grace Fellowship sits downtown within shouting and singing distance from a half dozen others. The building shows its age, and looks to be in the first stages of a new roof. Being long in the tooth, the church stands on stone with a big steeple, and Massachusetts and New Hampshire churches feature clocks on their steeples. Don't see them elsewhere, curious.
This week's scientific search found the Internet letting me down, as I searched for a church and got to a bunch of rip off (if you ask me) yellow pages, listings and directories, none providing any useful information, such as websites and service times. I resorted to the phone book. Phone book. Ask your dad. Okay, your grandfather. After finding a good candidate, I searched it and got a good website. Okay, I forgive the Internet.
The building got a big time facelift, so instead of the cavernous sanctuary, the inside is two stories, the upper being the sanctuary and the lower made into classrooms, restroom, nursery, and so on. Very efficient use of a big old building.
Entering the church, I encountered a greeter, a woman. She kissed a man on the neck, kissed a boy on the side of his head...and then...shook my hand. Whew. Two more Wal-Mart Greeters met me. I guess if one is good...
The sanctuary, powder blue, displays a cross in the front, backlit with a sheave of wheat in front of it. Modern padded seats set in neat rows. Enough.Let's get to the good stuff.
The band took us to worship and-spoiler alert, best worship of the Surch so
far. We worshipped with two singers, five instruments, and the leaders setting the example for loving The Lord through music. Unlike any other church, we worshipped through-um, worship...then communion, the offering, and worship again. Pastor Paul Berube worked in the few logistics needed and we loved God even more. Awesome!
This church asked for visitors to raise their hands, so I complied and they gave me a visitor packet. I knew I was a marked man and people would approach me after the service.
Announcements (no, we didn't worship through them) showed me this church rocks. I know they worship. But they pray too. Stop in any morning or any night and for a half hour is a time of prayer. And during the service, we prayed the Lord's Prayer. I get a feeling the amount of people who can recite the Lord's Prayer in America is dwindling, so it was good to pray it. And outreach? They feature Russian church services, Brazilian, and Indian. I didn't realize there were many of any of those races in NH. They help people in their walk too, featuring classes in parenting, anger management, divorce, grief and boundaries.
Pastor Paul spoke on Romans 6 and 7 about the law, or Torah. Very compelling. The authors of the Bible used phrases like 'Your law is life to me,' 'I love your law,' and 'Your law is a delight.' The law shouldn't be oppressive and constricting, but a tool to freedom. And Jesus said, "I haven't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it." "He (Jesus, not Pastor Paul) went on to say, "It has been said...but I say..." and upped the ante, raised the bar. The law says don't commit adultery, but He says don't even look at a woman with adulterous thoughts. Love your enemies.
I struggled with his message, because we must walk through a minefield. Should we wear Jewish prayer robes, not eat pork? Yet as Pastor Paul said,the modern cheap grace thing, where God supposedly winks at our sin, doesn't cut it. I think the message is we love the Lord enough to want to please Him. The law shows us the straight path, the way we should want to go.
Nonetheless, a compelling message that makes me think. Great stuff.
The service ended with no one approaching the new guy. Amazing. The church seems to be running on all cylinders, yet while a friendly church, you need to be in the club for friendliness, I guess.
High marks for Grace Fellowship. If I lived in Nashua I would be happy to attend here, a bright spot in town.