Some things happened on Sunday that left me feeling humbled and convicted. You know in James 4:10 where it says we are to humble ourselves? There’s a reason why we are responsible for keeping a check on our pride meter. If we don’t do it, God will. Read on.
You see, in recent years, I have wholeheartedly jumped in the middle of conversations that pertained to the supposed weaknesses of the Baptist church, as a whole. I’m ashamed to recall the many ways I focused on their weaknesses instead of their strengths. How incredibly prideful of me.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, July 13. Brian and I found ourselves in a place we never expected to be… Simpsonville First Baptist. If you had even hinted at the possibility of our ever visiting this church we, unfortunately, would have laughed in your face. God really does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He? Actually, I doubt He found anything humorous about my attitude.
Although the new sanctuary is beautiful, it’s what took place on the inside that the Holy Spirit used to shatter so many preconceived notions I had allowed to settle in my heart.
Conduits of conviction:
- An awesome Sunday School class [a class that we were invited to by a manager on Brian’s floor at Michelin. Little did we know, a friend of ours from the past turned out to be the teacher. She is simply awesome. As I sat in class, I couldn’t help but notice the coffee stains on the carpet and the flickering lights overhead, but for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t care. My priorities have undergone a major shift. We were in the Word and that’s what mattered most]
- Sherri Wilson, the awesome SS teacher, just returned from Africa, one of many mission trips taking place in the church. [missions/evangelism seems to be a priority]
- Based on the input from SS class members, people are learning the Word. [structured learning is beneficial, not detrimental, to one’s growth in Christ. I am eternally grateful for the strong biblical teaching that took place during our years at a Baptist church — especially in regards to our boys. Brian and I have zero doubt that they would be the young men they are today if not for the influence and structure made available through the Baptist denomination]
- 12 people baptized, including two entire families (decisions made in past two weeks) [life change is occurring here. It was one of the most moving baptisms I have ever witnessed]
- Stories shared of many unbelievers accepting invitations to visit. One man, who had not darkened the door of a church in 10 years, drove all the way from Seneca Sunday morning. [people are excited about their church – they’re inviting people – and people are accepting their invitation. Guess I was wrong to think only “church transplants” darkened their door]
- A very humble pastor who couldn’t even speak for the first few minutes because he was so overwhelmed by the Lord’s presence. A pastor who challenged his people by closing with the question: “How hungry are you? Not for “church” – but for the living God.” [It’s no surprise this church has grown exponentially under his leadership. The last thing I remember a former Baptist pastor saying was “stand up so you can get to your wallet easier.” My, how times have changed — thankfully]
- We sang a few songs we knew from CrossRoads as well as others heard on the radio. My favorite? Love is Here. [and it was]
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t live in la-la land. Every church has its strengths and weaknesses, but I share my thoughts on this visit in particular because of what took place in my heart Sunday morning. I love what God is teaching me right now. Tough, but necessary lessons.
Will we end up at 1st Baptist? We don’t know. But I do know this. The doors of my heart are now truly wide open to the Spirit’s leading. We want to be where God wants us to be… period.