A Light to the Darkness

I arrived in the darkness, just like every other winter Sunday night. The drive was so familiar – I’ve made the trip for many years of my life. There was no reason to expect anything new or different – none whatsoever.

I think that may be one of the things I appreciate most about God – that when He makes changes in our lives, old things – ones we’ve seen numerous times – can seem brand new!

I sat in the parking lot at the church waiting for my son to be done at youth group. The evening was completely dark except for a few lights inside the church.

Light drives out darkness – whether it’s a small candle flickering or a bright spotlight directing our focus. And we’re attracted to the light – we’re drawn to it in order to see through the darkness.

That night was not the first night I noticed the steeple light, but it was the first night I noticed the direction of the light.

How our lives can be a light to the world

The parking lot is on the opposite side of the church than the road. As I sat there, all I could see was the one light that shines in the steeple tower.

It reminded me of the house light that we put on when we’re waiting for a family member to come home.

Family knows where home is, and they know the light will be on waiting for them. They know how to get there and they don’t need anything other than the light to welcome them home. Wherever they go, they know that the porch light will be on, welcoming them.

Around the other side of the church, the side of the church that faces the road,
there is a bright spotlight that shines on the steeple.

There are many who travel through life, lost and unsure of where they are headed, or how to get there.

It is for those – the lost, the weary, the discouraged – that we need to give adequate directions. We need to be a light to the lost world.

And it’s for those that the church shines the spotlight on the steeple – pointing the world to the cross.

This Sunday, Easter, many of us will go to church as we usually do. We will gather with family and friends at our familiar place of worship. It’s our job to hear what God is saying to us, to take to heart what we are being taught.

Why?

Because there’s a whole world out there who needs to hear what we have to say. They need to know the way to come home. They need us to be the light that points them to the cross.

They need to know that Jesus came for our redemption, that He died, was buried and rose again on the third day. (Luke chapters 23 and 24)

That’s not the end of the story, though.

One day, He is coming back. That’s the hope of the story. That’s the reason for the light that shines onto the side of the steeple that faces the road. That’s the reason for us to share God’s Word, the story of Easter, with our friends and family.

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
from Casting Crowns’ song “Glorious Day

Happy Easter! May God bless you and your family as you celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!

Rebekah M. Hallberg

Rebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

When Church Becomes Worship

It’s almost here:  Sunday, a day when brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world gather together to worship the one true God.  And this Sunday, I will be able to go to church!  Isn’t that exciting?!

I’m ready, ready for worship, for fellowship, even for conviction to sting my heart during worship.

I’m ready for serving, for listening, for both giving and receiving.  I’m ready for hugs and how-are-yous and happy-to-see-you-todays.  I’m so ready that I would love to skip right over Saturday straight to Sunday!

I wish I could say I felt this way each and every Sunday, but the truth is that I don’t.  Many Sundays, I would rather not attend church.  I would rather not serve or worship or fellowship.

I usually go anyways; it’s kind of hard not to when you’re the pastor’s wife. :)

But on those Sundays when I grudgingly rise up from bed and grudgingly head out the door to church, I’m the loser, the one who misses out.
Sometimes even the pastor's wife doesn't feel like going to church.  Here's a change in perspective that moves us from church-going to true worship.  When Church Becomes Worship

There is nothing different about those Sundays except for my own attitude.  I take worship for granted and fail to see it for the privilege that it is.  Thus, I miss out on the blessing church attendance could be.

It’s funny, really, how an illness or injury or absence of any kind can help you to appreciate those things in life that sometimes feel like burdens rather than the blessings that they truly are.  Like family.  Like motherhood.  Like worship.  Like serving the Lord.

We who are in Christ, especially here in America, are blessed with so many privileges that we fail to see as such!

When does church attendance become a burden?

When do we forget the blessing of knowing God, of being chosen?

When does spiritual life become less razzle-dazzle and more ho-hum?

It happens when we forget who we are and who He is.  Because when I remember what an unworthy sinner I am, how flawed, how small, how unlikely to be chosen, I know my real place.

And when I remember who He is,

the King of Kings,

Creator of the heavens and earth,

Blessed Redeemer,

Constant Provider,

a Refuge of Comfort,

Faithful Friend,

Lover of my soul,

then I leap at the chance to give Him the praise He is due!

I’m reminded, too, that I live in America, the land of the free, while so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world do not share in that privilege to fellowship and worship without fear!

In fact, nearly a third of the world does not even know the truth of a Savior who willingly bled and died for the sake of our redemption from sin and slavery.

And with that perspective, the opportunity to worship with fellow believers becomes a blessing and not a burden, a delight rather than a duty.  That’s when church becomes worship.

Sometimes even the pastor's wife doesn't feel like going to church.  Here's a change in perspective that moves us from church-going to true worship.  When Church Becomes Worship

I wish we who are in Christ could feel this way about a chance to worship Him in church every Sunday! How powerful would that be?  Even if our church isn’t perfect (and which one is?), even if our relationships aren’t perfect (yes, those, too), even if we aren’t perfect (and no one is, no, not one), our God is perfect.

Does He not deserve our adoration and obedience?

Hebrews 10

19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,

21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Where will you be this Sunday?  I plan to be praising my Lord at church because

He

is

worthy.

Jen :)