19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22
Life is said to be unpredictable. That may be true on some days. For the most part I believe there are some things you can count on to stay the same. People all over the world are doing the same thing mankind has been doing from the beginning of creation. They are living life, working to provide for their family and/or pursuing a dream, some are perhaps just trying to survive. If you really think about it the changes we encounter in our day-to-day life can be considered ‘nothing new under the sun,’ as King Solomon suggested. The one thing I know for sure never changes is God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we trust in Him wholly when life becomes unpredictable or is turned upside down by circumstances we have a firm foundation to stand on. We can walk forward in confidence knowing that He who holds the whole world in His hands holds us up in a future that may seem uncertain.
Our family moved to a new house at the end of September and have been trying to settle in for several weeks. It has significantly less wall space which makes it hard to choose what to hang where. I had a hard time leaving the old house, mostly because of the memories contained there. But as many of my family and friends will attest I have recorded them very well in photo books. 🙂 The holidays are coming up and I feel an urgency to get the new house all put together but temporarily I am stuck. No fear though, I have been here before because it is ninth time I have moved since moving to Texas in 2001.
Our church is moving to a new location also. Another change. It will be the fourth move for CrossBridge. Sunday we held our last service in our current location and during the singing special by one of our dear ladies I became overwhelmed with the memories in that room. The memories of what God has done through our little church. Baby dedications, weddings and healing for many who have come through the doors. I had the privilege of leading a young girl of 12 to the Lord in the little classroom. My own family was restored there when I re-married my first husband in a wonderfully sweet ceremony. We have prayed over soldiers being deployed out into the world. We have begged God for healing and reconciliation of family members and have said goodbye to dear friends who went on to be with the Lord. We have celebrated high school graduations, newborns and life accomplishments. We have poured into teenagers lives, some accepting Christ after a weekend of camping. All life changing events but each leaving an indelible mark in each of our lives as a church family.
Within those walls God’s Word has been preached, taught, sang and prayed out loud. Our pastor often says of our church, “We are the cold cup of refreshing water to the weary and broken who have no where else to go.” I love that, being known as a refreshment to souls. Small in number but big in heart. Generous of spirit and encouragement. People have come for a short time and moved on for whatever reason but for the time they were present they left their spiritual fingerprint on those of us who remain. Leaving the building, while bittersweet, means we are in forward motion. We are stepping into a new place that we believe God has appointed. And we have been here before, stepping out in faith. We had moved from our last location to the one we leave now. We did not know then what time would bring, what God would require of us. Standing here looking back I could not have imagined the beauty He allowed us to behold through one another’s lives.
Changes are hard for some people. Hard for me at times. I have to look deep within and find the courage to let the change occur. I have to be open to new possibilities and blessings. For I have learned change is growing. I have learned that while the building is where we gather it not the walls that make the church. It is the folks that come through the doors, that hug our necks, that pray with us for God to do the miraculous. It is the people who are called by Jesus Christ to ‘assemble together’ and serve Him. To show His love by loving one another. To show His grace by rolling up our sleeves and meeting others where they are. To show His mercy by teaching them salvation comes from knowing the Savior intimately. To show the world church is not about the walls, it’s about the people in it. So while the scenery changes, even the walls around us or the circumstances we find ourselves in uncomfortable the few things that remain certain is the knowledge that we are made in the image of God and we still have His purpose to fulfill. No matter where we sit or stand!
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Psalm 148:1-2, 10-14 & Ephesians 1:3
Text: Thomas Ken, 1637-1711
Music: Louis Bourgeois, ca. 1510-1561. From Genfer Psalter, 16th century.