At church this weekend, our Pastor opened the mics up to anyone who wanted to share a "Thank you". I just had to say that I am thankful for my family and my church family. Of course, my family is awesome. Anyone who has known any member of my family knows how blessed I am. Wonderful parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, not to mention my fantastic children, and grandchildren. What did I ever do to deserve such a family?
But I have to admit that I am just as blessed when it comes to my church family. Without them I do not think I could have made it through these past 19 months. They are a constant source of strength and courage. They pray for me relentlessly. They encourage me regularly. I cannot imagine going through life without them.
Of course, Mom and Dad always encouraged us to be an active part of a good local church. I know I would not be where I am in my walk with the Lord today had it not been for all the churches I have been a part of in various parts of the world throughout my life but I am especially grateful for First United Methodist Church in Springfield, IL. Even though I definitely grew up Baptist and do not believe everything the Methodist Church as a denomination teaches, I love my church! I am grateful that God led me to this church for this phase of my life.
Mom and Dad loved this church, too. They tried to plan their visits with me so they could attend services if at all possible. In particular they had come to the Easter services here for several years. Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011 was the last church service they attended in this world and it was here at my church.
If you do not have a church home, I urge you to find one. If you live in the Springfield area, I invite you to visit my church. While we are still in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to give a big "shout-out" to my church, my Sunday School teachers, my Bible study gals, my pastors ~ too many to name here personally! Thank you for all you have done for me and for carrying me through the most difficult time in my life! I love you all!
Ephesians 1:20-23 (The Message)
All this energy
issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in
deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from
galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And
not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it
all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ
rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world;
the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in
which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his