Today, I’ve decided to let someone else share their heart on my blog, my dear friend from Texas who blogs over at Jane Caroline I think my sweet friend Caroline and I became such good blogger friends because of her heart for Jesus, her heart for those around her who are hurting and because of her realness! A few months ago I found myself hanging out on her blog and I’d like to return the favor for her today! If you visit her blog, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll feel the realness in her heart! I agreed to let Caroline take over my blog today, because she wants to share her life with people, and she’s got some exciting things coming up in the future that she’ll want to share with you! Please take a moment to visit my sweet friend on Facebook! Today Caroline shares with us a Gospel reminder, one that struck my heart… take it away Caroline!
It was her first time to church and she tapped me on the shoulder to ask, “Miss, what is the Bible? Is it a song?” I pulled my Bible out of my purse, showed her the pages, and began to tell her how the Bible is the story of God’s people and how we can actually know God.
As I flipped through the pages, something within me crumbled. How often I read God’s story, memorize its words, but miss what it is and Who it reveals. I too often miss the power, the glory, and the divine story that changes absolutely everything. I know Christ; I am redeemed, saved, forgiven. As I was sharing with the lady joy grew within me, and I realized I was talking just as much to myself as I was to her. We learn the Gospel when we share it. And in my church, I share it constantly—with others and… with myself.
I sat in the group of unchurched middle school girls and the lesson I was sharing was simple—you are not an accident. God has a plan for you. Growing up in church, I doodled Jeremiah 29:11 when I was bored. My mom always told me I had a future and that I was loved by my Father in Heaven. In other words, this mind-blowing truth was (sadly) old news to me.
These girls didn’t have moms that told them truth. They didn’t hear that they important, loved, valuable. The idea that God planned for these girls to be born—regardless of whether their parents wanted them or not—was completely new to their 7th grade minds. Their eyes got big. Really?! All of the sudden the girls from broken homes, poverty, abuse, and the like tapped into the fountain of living hope.
The truth that I had tucked away years before became new to me in a new way too. “God has a PLAN” became ingrained in my heart in a different, permanent, powerful new way.
I joined this new church plant a few months back. It sits in the middle of a forgotten part of town and is housed in an old Baptist church that died after scandal. The church stood empty for years; the Light of the World remained dark in the community until the church reopened its doors over the summer. Now, we’re teaching the unchurched community how to go to church, what it means to worship, how to be loved by one another, and how to know our God.
For the first time, I’m learning what the church really is. We are a group of very, very human people trying to love God. Nothing fancy or polished. That’s it.
When I first visited the church there wasn’t anything “churchy” to be impressed by. In fact, it didn’t look like a church; the things I thought made church church were missing. There weren’t musicians, definitely no choir; there weren’t bulletins or greeters. What the church did have, though, was a few people with a mission and vision for the neglected community. At the church’s fingertips was a community struck with poverty, violence, drugs. The community needed love and attention, but mostly, the community needed Jesus.
This mission captured me.
Children wander the streets and congregate in the church parking lot. When I pull my car up four times a week, the kids flock with an excitement that seems be God saying, “Caroline, here are my children; now, bring them to Me.” Sometimes I feel like “the mission” is just as much for me relearning—daily—the Gospel of Christ.
I am surrounded by more non-Christians while at church than I am anytime throughout the week. These non-Christians in church humble me to the core, but they remind me of what I have—and the only thing I have—The Gospel. They remind me that what I have received changes everything, and they remind me how desperately I need to spill the Hope of Christ with every opportunity.
Yes, we need to share the Gospel with those who haven’t heard it, but perhaps the Gospel also should be repeated, shared, and quoted to us who know Christ just as often. When the Gospel rolls off our lips and conveyed through our love, it transforms us.
It has transformed me. I love and treasure the Gospel more now because of the inexplicable beauty of seeing it hit the ears of those within my church.
Teach those who don’t know.
Remind those who do.
Quote yourself the Truth of the Gospel every single day.
And, do all within church, because this is church.