Thursday, October 19, 2006
Good enough to make you wish you were dead… not in a morbid, suicidal way, but in a “wouldn’t it be great to be in heaven” way.
Sunday we celebrated our beloved church’s 50th anniversary (www.gracechurch.org), and what a celebration it was! The morning service was devoted to great music, a video recounting the church’s history, a tribute to the remaining 6 founding members (who still are a precious part of our fellowship and hard at work for the kingdom), and a time to honor our 61 missionary families (all of which had been flown home for the occasion, as well as their bi-annual conference). But the best part of the day was the evening service. We don’t usually make it back at night, but we were inspired to make more of an effort from now on. It seems that the best musicians to ever be members of our congregation were there to bless us with magnificent, God-honoring worship. The better part of our time was spent praising in song the God who has made our church what it is. At one point, standing there, I honestly wished that God call us all home so we could begin an eternity of praising Him. I imagine that in heaven we’ll all sing with voices like Phil Webb and Diane Brown, complete with the full orchestra and choir – even Dan! Won’t it be wonderful to be free of our propensity to sin and totally preoccupied with the beauty of our Savior? I truly was sad to see the service end.
We also enjoyed another sweet film interviewing our pastor, his wife and their 4 grown children (who are all still members of our congregation), where they recounted their best memories of their 37 years among us. In a church our size, most of us are pastored by the leader of our fellowship groups more than by John MacArthur, so it was fun to see the more personal insights. My favorite was a conversation recounted by John: when his son Mark was in junior high, he approached his dad with this comment: “Dad, when you’re up in that pulpit you’re really something special, but the rest of the time, you’re not that special.” Of course, we love our Bible-teacher, but he’s just a normal guy who God has specially equipped for ministry.
Afterwards we enjoyed a 50’s-themed social on the patio (yes, in southern California it’s still warm enough for an outdoor evening event) complete with a classic car, old-fashioned candy, Dodger dogs, Coke in glass bottles and Creamsicles. The only unfortunate part (though it’s a blessing too) was that there were so many people you couldn’t fully appreciate the hard work that went into it. But thank you anyway to Lauren, Shannon, Shirley, and countless others! I noticed!
So all that to say, we have a great church and we had a great time celebrating our history. But even greater will be the day that the True Church is gathered together to forever celebrate His story - the story of His goodness and our redemption!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Alyssa had a hard time falling asleep tonight. Not surprising given we've just returned from a week-long cruise to Mexico where nap-times and bed-times were much less structured than normal. But her explanation for her sleeplessness tonight just about broke my heart: “I want Savannah, mama.” She was in tears missing the sister she doesn’t even yet know. We sat down and prayed with her, explaining that God will bring her to us when the time is exactly right and that God is taking extra special care of her until then. I’m not sure how comforted she was by all of that, but she was willing to smile and go to bed once she had Savannah’s special baby (with dark skin!) in her arms. If nothing else, it was good for me to have to explain it all to her and to hear Dan’s tender prayer about our new daughter. One of these days she’ll be home (in “three weeks” according to Alyssa – the very longest amount of time in her little mind) and all of this will seem like just a moment.