we brought our friend to church this morning. i did not believe he would come. first of all he is VERY catholic and our church is...well...NOT. this friend and i have had many discussions (friendly ones) about the differences in our beliefs. there have been times where we just laugh and move onto another subject. this week, i invited him to church. i realized that in all of our discussions, i had never ACTUALLY asked him to join us at church.
so, when i asked him, and he said yes...he told me that no one had EVER invited him to come to a protestant church. this would be his first protestant "church service" (besides a wedding or two) that he has ever attended.
Bert did not believe that he would show. but, there he was, at our door at 8:30 to come with us to sunday school and church. "HA! I TOLD YOU HE WAS COMING", i beamed to bert!
He rode in the stinkmobile, in the captain chair behind me. with the kids. and some leftover mcdonalds wrappers. he talked to crunch, about life....
we actually made it to church on time. this time sunday school was about praying through the Psalms. NOW, my friend knows ALL there is to know, in the Bible. BUT, we definately do not believe the same stuff about its meaning, translation, yada yada. so, i was thankful it was Psalms because really, everyone likes this part of the Bible. am i right? things went well and we had to participate in a small group discussion on the meanings and the usage of words in this one chapter of Psalms and how it applies to our lives. and then we were asked to "go around our group and pray out loud using the "wording, in this particular Psalm" to help us to dig and become more intimate with the meaning of what the psalmist was saying...... YIKES. ok, i LOVE to pray aloud, but this poor guy is just visiting and i thought "Lord, we are gonna have him running away screaming". i am under the assumption that Catholics do not usually participate in corporate prayer. the priest intercedes for the congregation. i might be SO wrong, but this is what i understand to be the case. at lease here in bama. and i just simply have not met many catholics that talk about their prayer life as freely as us "protestants"
so , we sat in a group of about seven and talked about the passage. here it is:
62:1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
3 How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
after a discussion about what we each liked about the chapter. it was kind of a central theme that we want to stand on the ROCK of our salvation and not on sinking sand. then we talked about the "sinking sand" that is portrayed in the verses. such as "riches" and being in "high estate," "extortion," and our hope being in him and not in others.
then we began the prayer time where we were supposed to try to use some of the phrasing in our prayers.
i slid a note to my friend....[you do not have to pray out loud]...he looked at me like [why not? you dork, i can if i wanna]
so it came around to him and in very few words...he prayed a sweet prayer something like: "Lord, help me to see the Rock".
i am so glad that he came with us, i have no idea if he will come back. i have no idea why he agreed to come with us today. i don't know who learned more.....he, who put himself in a strange environment because he was open to the invitation. or ME, who assumed that he was gonna learn something BIG about the differences in our beliefs (and they are BIG DIFFERENCES) and then suddenly decide to convert? i do know what God did today. i know i learned that an Italian Catholic man was not afraid to listen.
SO, here is my question:
when was the last time you went out on a limb and asked someone to come to church? when? when? when?
why is it so hard?
i live in a little neighborhood FLANKED by two huge churches. i am surrounded by members of those churches. we have lived here for 10 years. NEVER ONCE, has a person invited me (or us) to attend either of those churches. forgive me "friends" that live in my neighborhood that have never invited me to church. i am not mad. i am just a little worried that we have "lost touch" and gotten SO comfortable in our own "zones" that we forget that someone like my catholic friend might just want to feel special, and INVITED. they might not want to change churches forever or even begin to go to church at all. but an invite is always nice...and guess what.....wait for it.....WE ARE SUPPOSED TO SHARE THE LOVE OF CHRIST, THE GOSPEL, AND THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION.
some that know me might be thinking: "well, liz has never invited me to her church. so who is she to talk?" i am so sorry for that. i wish i could wear a t-shirt with an invite on it but if you talk to me for more than 5 minutes i usually will bring SOMETHING up about God or Church. i am NOT perfect, Jesus is. i am not the savior, He is. i am a sinner with a bunch of yucky things about me. if you give me some time i will tell you all about my depravity ( it's kind of a bad habit) but usually to tell you WHY I NEED JESUS. why i am in need of a savior that i do not have to prove myself worthy of. because HE ALONE is WORTHY. He showed us that on the cross.
2 corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
one more thing: i do not know enough about the Catholic faith to write a "dissertation" on it. i invited my friend because of our many discussions regarding having a relationship with God ALONE "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit".
my only hope is whether Catholic or Protestant, Atheist, or Agnostic..........You have a relationship with the Lord, acknowledging you are a sinner, believing that God sent his perfect son to die for you! you need ONLY HIM. and without Him, you will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. there is NO OTHER WAY.
you can read the Bible all different ways. standing on your head, backwards, sideways. you can't twist it around. it is the true WORD OF GOD.