Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Warming Up to True Community

The past four weeks, Brett has been preaching a sermon series called “Living Life in the End Zone,” based on Acts 2. Sunday after Sunday, he has been encouraging our congregation to experience true community not only by deepening our personal relationship with the Lord and serving in the local church, but also by reaching out to our neighbors to share the message and love of Christ in a practical way.

Like any good pastor’s wife, I have been sitting on the front row, taking good notes, and thinking about how proud I am of my husband for preaching the Word with clarity, boldness, and grace.

And then I take my copiously filled-in sermon notes home and promptly file them away. After all, like many pastor’s wives, I’ve heard most of this before. Many, many times before.

Not just from Brett, of course. I cut my teeth (probably literally) on a church pew. My parents used to pin my tithe to my diaper when they took me to the church nursery. My dad was a deacon and my mom was in the choir, and our family of five was at church every single week for Sunday school, worship service, discipleship training, Tuesday night visitation, Wednesday night prayer meeting, and every potluck and hymn sing and revival meeting in-between. Take seventeen years of that, add four years of college ministry, and then throw in three more years of seminary. Now top that off with ten years of marriage to a pastor, and you’ll begin to have an idea of exactly how many sermons I have heard in my life.

That’s why a specific event this past week turned into a truly amazing, God-sent opportunity to actually live out the truths I’ve been jotting down on my sermon notes.

It started last Friday, when our air conditioning went out. During the 90+-degree Texas heat, I might add. Oh, and I might also add that the manufacturer informed us that it will take at least two weeks for our replacement part to arrive.

Two weeks. In unrelenting, 90-degree heat. With three young children. And the two of us both working from home.

Can anyone say, YIKES!

Now, I have to admit that my first reaction to this news was something other than, “Lord, thank You for this great opportunity.” But we didn’t have money to replace the A/C unit, or even to buy portable fans to use while we waited for the part to arrive, so we didn’t have an option. We would simply have to endure the heat. For two weeks.

After a couple of days of sweating it out, I finally decided to send an e-mail to our church, asking if anyone might have a portable fan that we would borrow for a while. But to be honest, it took me awhile to work up the nerve to hit Send. After all, I’m not used to asking for help. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a master delegator and have absolutely no problem assigning tasks for a specific project. But when it comes to asking for help for myself or my family—well, that’s another matter entirely. You see, there's an unwritten rule in churches that pastors and their families are the ones who give help, not the ones who need help. And that’s pretty much the way we’ve been living the past ten years.

But oh my word, it was so HOT in our house. I had to do something!

When I checked my e-mail later that day, I was overwhelmed at the response. Dozens of people offered us not just the use of their fans, but even their homes. One friend invited our entire family to spend the night as often as we’d like—she had plenty of room for all of us, she said. Another dear friend let us know that she stashed a key outside, so we were able to use her home for the kids’ afternoon naps. Several moms offered to host the kids and me for afternoon play dates, so we could escape the heat. And still others have called us this week to check on how we’re doing and see how they can help.

In other words, our church is reaching out to us to share the love of Christ in a practical way.
It’s exactly what Brett has been preaching the past few weeks. Here we are, actually experiencing a true, Acts 2 kind of community!

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing God’s vision become reality. The past few months, we’ve been amazed to watch God build His church and draw us together as a church family. And this week, Brett and I were humbled and grateful to reap the blessings of the true community God has been building here at The Church at Sendera Ranch.

This Sunday, Brett is starting a sermon series called “We Hold These Truths,” covering the essential Christian doctrines. You bet your boots I’m gonna take good notes! And then I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for how God is going to put those truths into practice in our daily lives.

Stay tuned…

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