Monday, April 9, 2012

the real deal...

as I sat in church yesterday, I knew it was coming. I am sure we all did. The biggest day of the year for a church. Attendance will be tripled, so don't miss this opportunity. The service will be ended with an alter call.

Do you remember those?

My husband grew up in a Baptist church, so it was a weekly thing.

I grew up Presbyterian, so unless the Preacher was originally Baptist, then we might only get it that one time a year.

I am not knocking either or any denomination, just stating the facts in our life.  Honestly, I used to dread them. They would call out every possible scenario for you to get down that aisle. Really, unless you were down right perfect, you shouldn't be sitting in the pew at the end of "Just as I am". And perfect is exhausting, so who would want to be that anyway.

 I would have to say, in the past, seeing Jon Doe walk down the aisle 20 times over the last 5 years, and Jane Doe being saved 5 times that year made me think I'd rather be heading to lunch 15 minutes ago. Yep, that's how I felt. You can judge me, my heart was pretty awful.

And if I were totally honest with you, it wasn't until  years ago, when our preacher at our previous church did an alter call that changed my view of the whole thing. In a good way.

Then ,when one happened a couple years ago and no one walked down, I had a little revival inside.

Why didn't anyone walk down?

Was it pride?

Surely not everyone in the church that day was saved?

Was it embarrassment of being exposed?


Yesterday, during the Sermon, Andy said something along the lines of "everyone remembers the day that it happened"


I knew exactly what he was talking about.

"IT" wasn't when I was four, sitting on my dad's lap in the Pastor's office, reciting scripture and creeds, and repeating that little prayer.

IT was when I was 21 years old, weighted by my selfishness. Overcome by depression as I lay in my shower as my friend (without even knowing) showed me my sin. I had been so blinded by it and I let it take over.

I am not saying "IT" doesn't happen during the alter call, or at 4 years old, for two of my three children professed by the two.

I remember several years ago, a very dear friend announced the revival in his life. Shocked by many that knew him, was a complete understatement. He lived a complete "Christian Life" so far, but obviously sin still had it's grip on him.

I remember thinking how bold he was. His burden that weighed him down had been lifted, the gratefulness for the Cross had never been so real; and now, he wanted to share that with his family and friends.

Would I do the same?

Sadly, it took years for me to share the transformation with anyone. I wouldn't expose the hurt, the anger, the lies I believed, the place my heart was in. I was still very prideful. Embarrassed and fearful of what people would think. Did I really believe people thought me so perfect because I had Jesus, or did I believe myself so perfect, I wasn't in need of saving.  For me, perfection is exhausting and a dangerous place to try to be. But I was now free. My chains were gone and I could feel when  they were lifted. Why wouldn't I want to share that??

I can't wait for "it" to happen in my girls lives. I know they love Jesus, I know they are thankful for all He did for us on the cross.  I know they know and believe that He conquered the grave so they may have eternal life, and I believe that if they died today, they would be with Him. But I can't wait for the day, where they can't carry their burdens anymore, where their total dependence is on His endless mercy and grace, and they understand the depths of the earth and how redemptive His love is.

I hope I will not be shocked like the above if it happens at age 21 for them. I hope I will rejoice because "it" has happened. And although it takes some of the darkest trials in one's life to get to that place, it is the sweetest reward in the end. Golden. Pure and Real.  I want them so badly to feel it, and know it, so they will cling to it in this life.

Has "it" happened to you?

Share it, don't hold it. Proclaim it, don't keep it.

We need to see the Saving Grace in each other's lives. We need to see the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to hear of the transformation.

Be bold...

Be Real.....

My 92 year old Grandfather's favorite song is this. And I believe that it is, because he remembers when it happened to him. And every time he sings it, with tears in his eyes, it's as if that Grace is sweeter then ever before.....because it just keeps pouring...

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.
When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

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