Sunday, May 6, 2012

Celebration Sunday

This morning, I woke up at 4:15, got dressed and headed out the door at 4:45  to Knoxville. I was planning to come visit Lara for a few days, to have a late celebration of her birthday. I think this birthday will be celebrated all month!! I was going to get here in the afternoon but she wanted me to get here in time for her 10:00 church. It was going to be a tent service, with all 4 services combined in one. It was the big 15 year birthday service as well as a kick off for the new building fund they have started.

It was pitch black when I left, but I saw the most beautiful full moon a short time after I started. The blackness turned into fireworks in the sky for about 30 minutes, as the lightning would come and go, no thunder, just lightning... Then..... the rain started.. for another 30 minutes or so. As quick as the rain started, it ended and the sky was beginning to turn light as the sun was rising. The colors were coming alive with a beautiful pink and light blue showing in the sky. Then morning was here, the sky was light and beautiful. I feel like I had a show in the sky before I even got here. There is something said about getting up so early and being about the only one on the road, lots of quiet time, just me and God...

So, after 3 1/2 hours, I pull off the ramp, 30 minutes early. To think, I could have stayed in bed another 30 minutes!! But if I had, I might have missed the beautiful show in the sky... I had time for a pit stop and then headed to Two Rivers. I have seen so many pictures of Lara`s new church family, heard about all the names, and have even met some of them, but today, with the tent packed, I had the opportunity to meet them all. Everyone who is special to her in one way or another, in Knoxville, was there at church. Since she works at church, all of her friends go there, so it was a good chance that I would see them all. They had water and orange juice as the members arrived, to hand out. It was a bit noisy because the nurseries were not open, but a great gathering of this church.

The guy in the orange, is Lara`s boss. You can see immediately why she likes it so much here. There is a lot of laughter, joking and having fun. He dressed up for a skit with the Jr. High intern, where they recognized all the volunteers in the church. Very funny!!

The preacher had the honor, or should I say, "responsibility", to not only preach of this celebration of 15 years, but to throw into the service about the building fund. I must say, he did a great job. I have been in many of those services before but he brought up some very good and important points...

They have over 900 families and single members that go to church and give to the church. Only 200 have pledged to help with the new building fund. He said that was good and bad. Good that so many have signed up and bad that 3/4 have not jumped on board for this new vision of growth.

We are saved by God`s grace. We are changed by our participation in His plans. He commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Without obedience to God, we will not know the blessings He has for us. The preacher was encouraging everyone to give. He was not saying what to give. Some were going to be lead to give much and others would sacrifice by giving little.... The important thing is to be obedient and give.

A bit of humor he left with us... when you stand in a garage, that does not make you a car!! Just because you come to church and are physically there...... you get the picture?

The congregation repeated after the preacher when asked.... "We are the church"

It was a privilege for me to be able to be a part of this chapter of Lara`s life today. She has moved into her adult role, all of a sudden. It just happened... or so it seemed. She has gotten so many new friends, some young, some older... but has invested her life, her time, into these new friendships. As I would meet everyone, they would always tell me how much they love Lara and thank me for giving her to them. Had I done that? Had I given her away? The answer is yes... I guess I have, physically. But then I think, she was never mine to "Give" away. She was given to us by God, 23 years ago, and now, He has taken her on the trip called, "life".  I miss her at home with me, but she has grown up and if I can`t have her at home with me.... it is a wonderful feeling to know that God has placed her in a place where there are many wonderful people to  help take care of her.

Have a blessed week!

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