I spent a weekend in Dallas with a friend. I went to her church and we took our places with the thousands of other people crammed into the building they'd clearly outgrown; outgrown so much that they needed 4 other services throughout the weekend to accommodate the crowds. I'll be real: I was warned about churches like this. I believed, for a very long time, that "mega churches" were doing something wrong and that there was no way that many people actually enjoyed going to church.
One of the first things Matt Chandler said when he greeted the crowd that morning went something like this: "We're so glad you're here this morning but if this church isn't your thing, there are a lot of other churches in town." He went on to name close to every other church around and told his congregation that "We're all on the same team" and to "Find one they love even if it's not The Village."
Growing up, I heard pastor's bash other churches in town, going as far as preaching entire sermons about what these other churches were doing wrong. Music, versions of the Bible used, how they dressed... you name it. I learned to compare and judge other people. I believed that this, "being separate from the world" the Bible talks about meant that there was only one denomination doing it right.
Let me back up here. I'm not angry at people who believe like I used to. I don't think you're wrong in how your choosing to live out your faith.
What I do think is wrong about how I used to live is the judgment toward the rest of the world. This high-horse, "look how much better I am than you are" mindset.
I want a lot of things for my children. I want them to know how much Jesus loves them; I want them to know that churches with lots of people is a good thing; but probably most importantly, I want them to feel loved for their differences, not judged or condemned or asked what they (or their parents) did wrong to deserve such a tough road to hoe.
I want them to know that Jesus is ready to forgive and that our job is to love on people, not tell them they're wrong. I want them to never judge a book by it's cover. I want them to know that believing in Jesus, that "being saved" is not always marked by a change in your lifestyle but by a change in your heart.
A tangible example... This story and video reveals something about me. I used to be the protestor. Now? I'd bring them water and let Ben love on them for a while. Everybody needs a Ben hug, right?
Always remember, sweet babies of mine, we're on the same team. Love wins.
A couple things you may have missed...
My brother is a talented singer/songwriter and he graciously wrote a fantastic song about our sweet Alexis. With it being CF Awareness Month, there's no better way to celebrate in my book. Love you, Eli!
Happy Memorial Day weekend. Remember those who defended (like my hubs and his buddies) and are still defending our freedom today.