There are many so-called church affiliated groups in the news whose main function and focus seems to be telling other people why they believe God finds them unacceptable and unworthy of love – the second message being that if they would just get with the program they too could be a squeaky clean near perfect Christian complete with church certified seal of approval. God would then find them acceptable. Worship this way, align your political views that way, either do or don’t do this or that and you too will be given the golden ticket to heaven. The truth is, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Then, there’s Set Apart Church. The name says it all. Here the invitation comes with no strings. You don’t have to change a thing to show up. Come in your pajamas, your shorts, your favorite t-shirt. It won’t matter. Come ready to hear exactly what Jesus said about God’s love for His children with no political slant, no judgment, and no request for money. Just come. Here you’ll find a welcome invitation from your Heavenly Father. You’ll learn through a series of online sermons and devotions exactly how He feels about you. The answer may surprise you. If you just need someone to pray for you, you will find a place for that as well. All of it in church online.
At Set Apart Church it’s God meeting you wherever you are. It’s a church without walls where the door is always open. There you’ll find a passion for Christ that comes from true relationship with Him and a deep desire to share the forgiveness of God, His love and His heart for you. Whatever your reason for not going to church, here is the answer. What do you have to lose? You never know what you might gain.
Photo courtesy freedigitalimages.net “Old English Church on a Sunny Day – Stuart Miles
I’ve been thinking about my dad today. I am one of three daughters – three daughters who were not shielded from doing some work around the house and yard. I remember climbing onto the roof to do clean out gutters, painting furniture, trimming bushes, planting trees, mowing the grass, ripping up old carpet to put in linoleum, laying cement pavers, and a myriad of other things that simply required our family pulling together. My parents didn’t pet us, they taught us how to do things for ourselves. I learned to cook simple meals, do laundry, sew, clean a house correctly, change a tire, change out old spark plugs, and deal with repairs on my own. They taught us to work together until the work was finished. And it felt good to be a part of the work and a part of a beautiful outcome.
Today my husband and I spent the day outdoors trimming bushes, raking, sweeping, and getting ready to mulch and plant for spring. I thought of my dad. He never treated me differently because I was a girl. His confidence taught me I was capable. My parents’ expectations taught me to rise to the challenge and get things done when they needed to be. It made me examine my own parenting. It reminded me that hard work is such a tremendously healthy thing – for mind, body, and soul. It helps families grow together. I think I feel a few projects coming on.
image by amenic 181 freedigitalphotos.net
It has been a long, long winter. People in the south are not accustomed to winter. Ask anyone who has lived here for more than 10 years and they will tell you that winters here do not require parkas, snow boots, sleds, or any other winter weather gear. If we receive more than 1 inch it is a miracle of nature. A normal winter is weather in the forties with an occasional dip into the thirties. But this year? I am lost. I fear I am headed for a case of S.A.D.
I have to preface this by saying that I am usually able to find solace in a movie, a crochet project, or a good book. Sometimes things sneak up on you, though. I didn’t realize how truly affected I was by the cold, the snow, the overcast days of gloom until a tiny clearing in the sky and the mere mention of spring flowers made my heart jump. Hope ignited. Just the thought of warm sun on my back and the children in my class during recess running wild OUTSIDE instead of cooped up in a gym, voices echoing. Sigh. Just bliss, I tell you. I caught sight of it and, I kid you not, I inhaled. Not just a breath, I mean I sucked wind. It was as if my heart itself were saying, “It’s almost here! Wahoooo!” Yes, we say that in the south. Can’t you feel it?!
Tonight as I sit here checking the weather for another possible snow storm I will laugh at Winter. I have seen the glimmer of things to come. I shall rejoice. With my “Yahoo!” and my “Yeehaw!” and a few timely “Amen”s here and there. Hope has arrived.
And, I can almost breathe.
Photo courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalImages.Net