Wednesday, October 12, 2011

That's how we roll...

I have a very close friend who is wonderfully unique. He is unique in the widest and wildest possible use of that word unique. As a matter of fact, his entire family is unique in that way. He will always see things completely differently than almost 10 out of 10 people. As a matter of fact, if this guy was in a group of 100 people who were asked some kind of knotty question, while I’m not a betting man, I would be tempted put down cold hard cash he’d see the problem differently from 99 other people! If there was someone else in that group who actually saw it the way he saw it, my well experienced guess would be he’s related to them! This is actually why I love being friends with this guy because I know I’ll get a wise, fresh viewpoint that will always honor the Lord. Sometimes when I’m astounded yet again by his viewpoint and in the shock and awe of the moment, I’ll blurt out my surprise at his viewpoint. He’s responded on more than one occasion rather matter-of-factly: “That’s how we roll” and it will be followed by a slide splitting roar of laughter from both of us. It’s awesome to me to have a friend like this who cares not what people think and is proud of how he rolls through life. I’m proud to be his friend.

Well I’m proud to be the pastor of this group of believers named Calvary Baptist Church. Without a doubt, this church is one of the most unique churches I’ve ever been a part of. The story I’m about to relate demonstrates “that’s how we roll” wonderfully well. I had a lady call me for an appointment the other day so we set a time we could meet in my office. This lady shared with me how she has basically been out of church for over 20 years. I want to be careful not to betray confidences with this so I won’t go into all the details of what was shared. It was clear to me however there was a great burden  in her heart which kept her from finding a place to worship and serve. There were many “reasons” why this church wouldn’t work or that church didn’t quite fit as she’s visited many churches during this time. She told me that she’s been attending Calvary for some time now and I think it is safe to say she was probably looking for many reasons why we would not be a good fit for her also. She shared how she went to one of our Bible Study classes, a class that she really should not “fit” in with. Her station of life and this class group don’t really match up. Maybe she picked it on purpose so she’d have a “reason” to not come back; who knows? God however had other plans it seems. This class has welcomed her in with open arms and have been faithful in calling to check on her. Basically they have loved on this lady in a way that God has begun to change her attitudes and given her a desire to get connected again. She said she has a desire to begin to serve the Lord again in large part because of the love of this class as they’ve wrapped their arms around her. She shared how she’s been confronted by Biblical truth in my preaching which has been hard to face but the love she’s experienced here has kept her coming back for more! She asked me to help her “put the pieces back together” and to help her change. Of course we’re working on this but it is the Lord who does the changing.

I have to be honest with you, I nearly had to bite my tongue and hold myself in my chair to keep from leaping up and shouting “That’s how we roll!” It is a similar story I’ve heard repeated many times in my tenure here as Senior Pastor. It is a story I pray to God will always be the case here at Calvary and that kind of love would always be said of us: “that’s how we roll.” Is that not what Jesus meant when He said in John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." That’s how every church collectively and how every individual disciple of Jesus Christ ought to roll; loving people to Jesus, confronting with Biblical truth. My heart was thrilled at the work that God is doing in the life of this precious woman who has been dealing with a myriad of hurt in her life that has kept her from God’s people and the Lord Himself for over 20 years. Her story reminds me that every time the saints of God gather here at Calvary, the people walking through our doors are hurting people. Calvary must never be a hotel and a spa for saints; there will be time for that in Heaven later. Here on earth, Calvary must always be a hospital for sinners and forgiven saints. I implore you to remember when you come to church the person you greet, that member you shake hands with, that child or teen beneath the surface smile may have a wound that goes deep; they may be in trouble and need help. That love you show may be just the thing God uses that day to encourage them to keep at it and keep coming back where God’s Word is preached and taught and where truth spoken in love brings about healing in the souls of men, women, boys and girls.

I am so proud of you all. I feel like a proud papa seeing this church being the hands and feet of Jesus each week. We want people to “Encounter God and experience life change”. We want them to connect, with God and others in genuine relationships, we want them to grow in their faith as a disciple, we desire to provide a place to serve the Lord and also as we gather each week, to renew their spirits. That’s what we mean when you see those 4 words: Connect, Grow, Serve, Renew. We believe those encapsulate the cyclical process of making disciples as we seek to “Encounter God and Experience Life Change.” God is still in the business of changing and transforming lives. Authentic encounters with God result in life change, and “that’s how He rolls!” He invites us to be a part of His plans as we love those who come our way. Maybe you’re on the fringe here, have visited several times and you’re wondering what to do next. If you haven’t tried one of our amazing Bible Study classes, please check one or all of them out. It is the best way to find out how special Calvary really is. Maybe God would lead you to join us here as a member. I’d like the opportunity to talk with you about that decision so by all means, call me for an appointment about this decision or something else I can help you with.

Thanking God for how we roll, from my little corner of the world to yours…

Ralph Green

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

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