I've Seen Miracles Happen
We were in church today, as we are every Sunday at 9:30 AM. We’ve been going to an Alliance, Bible believing church since January of 2011. A little background is in order. My wife was not raised in the church. I was raised Catholic, still love Catholic traditions, send my son to a Catholic grade school, and “get” the idea that William Buckley spoke about when he referred to us as a “giant dysfunctional family’. I say my rosary, every time I cut the grass or can’t go to sleep.
I was also raised in Bible believing churches of Pentecostal tongue speakers who not only knew the bible, but they knew that where we are now, is no comparison to the great place we are going after we die. I was baptized with everything from sink water to Planter’s Peanut Oil. I know what the bluegrass people are singing about when they three part harmonize “Will the circle be unbroken”.
The thing is, how do you explain incense, pookey, pookey and guilt trips to an educated woman who knows that guilt is the most useless of limiting emotions? How do you explain that Faith is a gift from a loving God and religion is a perversion of greedy men? At the same time, this woman is searching for the truth that will make her life have more meaning than “get up, go to work, eat sup, go to sleep”?
Just for giggles, let’s complicate it further. Life gets spicier when you throw in a tiny Russian orphan, with a smile that provides electric light for New York City without any fossil fuel. He has been baptized, reconciled, communioned and raised Catholic, thanks to Pops, who forces him to go to Catholic mass, just like Pops did.
There is a tiny problem that says, “Families worship together”. There’s another problem. Families talk faith together. They pray together. They try to get God together. In our house, 2 of us were kind of on that page. Mom was lost. “I’ve come to save all people.” That includes mom? Oops.
Mom thought that a Bible believing church would be like the Pentecostal places I took her to. No way!!! She thought people ramming things down her throat was what she would experience. Nope! You know the “my way or the highway” folks. Wrongo!
After experiencing gratitude singing and gratitude praising that made sense to her, and after listening to Pastors who kept putting God into the context of our lives, while reminding us that there is a loving God who gently says “I love you, no matter what”, our family has not missed church since January, 2011.
We have come back from vacations early, in order to get home in time for church- not out of guilty need, but for the sake of saying “Thank you Jesus”. Mom is reading the Bible! We are talking Jesus just like we talk about the school day or the yard or whatever. He/She is in our home voice as a matter of course.
The little boy? He asks whether he can go to extra Bible study class. He sings, not only bluegrass, but spirituals. He plays the "Thank you game" with me each day, and now it seems to make more sense to him.
Sounds good, nice and mushy. What about Pops? Turns out that I have the least faith of anyone in my family. When things get crazy, when my survival need kicks in big time, (you see, I can score 100% on the Bible Test) but….. There are times when I also know better than God, so I generally flunk the faith test.
When that happens, God gets in mom’s heart or on Sam’s face. Mom tells me- “If you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed….” “The birds in the sky aren’t arrayed like heaven”. Sam says “we love you anyway Pops” in a sing song, soon to be tenor voice.
I love my Catholic tradition. I still like the incense. I use the saints as examples of people who lived good lives and who “ran the race and kept the faith”. These days I am more grateful for my Christian faith- as tiny as it is.
God has gotten me this far. Who cares whether I am in Catholic Church or Alliance Church. God loves me and he is patient with me. Honestly, He believes in me a lot more than I believe in myself.
I don’t want to argue theology. I had to use the computer thesaurus to make sure I had the word spelled correctly. I don’t know enough theology to judge anyone else.
I know this: too many things have happened in my life to tell me that God doesn’t love me. I have a little boy who can’t wait to go to school and who loves going to church. I have a wife who once said “there is no God” who now races Sam and I to the car on Sunday. I’m married to a mom who is raising a husband and a son, as she uses her own faith for a teacher’s manual.
Am I saying my way or the highway? I hope not. Can you hear me saying “thank you Jesus”? Do I know enough to argue with anyone out there? Nope! I have to work on my own faith first. Who knows? God knows. He loves me no matter what.
If I EVER begin to believe what I have just written- watch out world. I am trying, but I am really weak. I still worry and fret, instead of trusting and walking by faith. The one thing I know for sure is that God is eternal, so He’ll be waiting for me when I wake up and say “Oh Yeah…..” This is what you meant when you told me “I sent my Son to save ALL men”, even you.
The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. Three letters that determine your life's direction. Remez Sasson
When you have control over your thoughts, you have control over your life.
Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.
what do you have to lose?
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