Do you reflect on God’s handiwork in your life during worship at church? Writing at my desk on a Sunday afternoon with sunbeams lighting up the room, my heart is alive with tender love stories from worship services today. Where do I begin? I will start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. After sharing four wonderful, worship experiences, I hope the joy of Jesus floods your heart. God puts the pieces of our stories together in His time and way; let us be still and listen as He guides us day by day.
Worship Experience # 1 = 8 a.m. Salemburg Food Bank Church
Have you heard about the powerful worship services held at Salemburg Food Bank Church every Sunday morning at 8:30am? On my first visit in January, Terry Lee and Norman McPhail shared how people came for food one Saturday each month but expressed the need for spiritual food. They listened to them and to Him, taking it to the Lord in prayer. Terry Lee emphasizes the power of prayer in all things as he opens the weekly services with prayer. Amazing things are happening to honor our Lord in downtown Salemburg. Organizers and supporters are doing His work and sharing His Word outside the box - instead of standing around and scratching their heads in dismay. People need the Lord and need help. Salemburg Food Bank and Church volunteers are doers of the Word…sharing it with power and passion for all who come. Many come who are unchurched, others are looking deeper worship –hungry for His Word, while some come for this early service and leave for 11am services at their home churches, as do those sharing their gifts of singing, preaching, playing, and doing what needs to be done to make this outreach of Christian love touch the lives of those seeking help and finding Him (God the Father, SON, and Holy Ghost)!
I stopped on Main Street in front of the building where were already gathering inside for a spiritual feeding. I pulled a huge bag of tabs, the Learning Station children have been collecting, from the back of my Kia. Several people rushed out to help me. Inside, the singers and pickers were getting the sound system tuned while people of all makes and models mulled around in harmonious fellowship. Coffee and donuts were pleasing to my smell; Christian love and support were pleasing to my spirit. I longed to stay and hear Karry Godwin deliver the message but had miles to go before I could sleep.
Worship Experience # 2 8:30 a.m. Long Branch Baptist Church
Driving down Minnie Hall Road with longleaf pines towering above the beautiful countryside that led to the white church I love to visit, Mr. Weldon Faircloth’s words rang in my ears, “Please come to this service Becky; you will be blessed.”
Entering the fellowship hall, the same sweet spirit enveloped as did the aroma of a country breakfast fit for a king. The beauty of Christian friendship buzzed in a room where His Spirit soared. People I hadn’t seen in years showered me with words of encouragement. One dear lady introduced herself and shared words of our first meeting that went straight to my heart’s treasure box – a story for another Friday.
After compliments to the cooks, everyone filed into the beautiful sanctuary where blessings flowed as Pam Godwin stood and shared her life’s story. She reminded us that we all have a story to tell. She told how God is always weaving our stories together and hers was one that touched hearts and glorified God. Pam recounted God’s amazing plan for her life from adoption - at three days old in 1959 – until today, March 2, 2014, the day before her____ birthday. Throughout Pam’s message of how God’s plan is always in place for all of our lives, how He was weaving hers together through the year, and seeing her Mom and her birth mother stand arm in arm beside the daughter God gave them at the end of the service…God was glorified. I was drawn closer to Christ through a testimony of a sister in Christ who radiates love and faith more brilliantly than the sun that lit up the sanctuary. Sharing Pam’s story is not for me to do. Seeing her eyes dance, smile sparkle, and sweet spirit penetrate as she spins her yarn is something you must witness. I hope each of you will be blessed to hear Pam’s story of how her Savior’s plan has come full circle in her life. It’s a classic that features Christ as Creator and main Character.
Worship Service # 3 9:45 a.m. Michael and Barbara Spell’s home – where Mom (TIM’s mother) lives now
Before heading back to Clinton, I stopped to visit with Mom. She greeted me with a hug and words that make a daughter- in- law happy, “It’s so good to see you”!
I handed Mom a plate of good food wrapped in foil that made her smile. During the meal at Long Branch Church, I chose to talk instead of eat. Imagine that! In between conversations, I did gobble down a hot biscuit and cooked apples, but saved this homemade meal for someone special, my mother in law. We sat at the kitchen table and shared a good time together, talking, laughing, and closely connected. The sweet spirit of the Lord was right there with us, as He had been at both churches that morning. The Gift, God’s Holy Spirit, is always with us. When we open that precious gift each day, we will glorify God and see His Hand of Favor all along the way. We make choices to stay connected or drift away and leave Him out of our daily lives. When we stay connected, trusting, obeying, and stepping in faith, He gives the fruit of the spirit, weaving love – joy – peace – self control – patience – kindness – goodness – faithfulness- and gentleness throughout our loves stories. When we follow the example of Jesus, honor the greatest commandment of LOVE, and do unto others as we want them to do unto us…we will see showers of blessings filling the chapters of our love stories.
Mom knew our time together was almost over as I glanced at my watch and told her I had to head home to my church for worship service. The parting words we shared had deep meaning for both of us…’ I love you’! Every time I leave Mom, I thank God she is my Mom and we share a sincere, special love for one another. I realize our time together here if growing shorter, as both of us celebrate our golden years. Mom and I are close and love one another deeply. Yet, once we were distanced by silly things that can make in laws feel like out laws. I prayed for years, wondering what in the world was wrong with me, why I couldn’t please my mother in law, why we didn’t see eye to eye. Then, God showed me I had to do my part, and do it in a spirit of love.
If you are reading this and do not have close relationships with your in laws, please take the first step in faith and seek His way in mending any broken or distant relationships. God will do it for you; He did it for me and Tim’s mom. Today, I love her like my own mother and thank God for every time we have together. When I embraced humility in spirit and honor for her position as my husband’s parent, I submitted in love and God took care of it. The most beautiful part of our story is how she has accepted and loves James, as he respects and loves her too. I am amazed to see how God weaves our lives together in love…when we let Him.
Worship Experience # 4 will come in next week’s story. May you feel His sweet spirit weaving tightly the threads that bind your hearts in one accord and bring blessings as you write your love stories…and live happily forever and ever.