So I have this routine whenever I write my blog. I usually wait until Tuesday evening. I go over to the Keurig coffee machine and make me a cup of decaf coffee in one of my many Chicago Cubs mugs. Then I sit down at the computer and start typing.
Coffee is made. Tastes pretty good. Mug looks great. Time for the blog!
This past Sunday was Father’s Day. I was very honored to have my dad and his wife in church with me at First United Methodist in Cleveland, Tenn.
They have visited with me before. My dad has come on several occasions. But there is nothing like having your dad sitting with you in the Lord’s house on Father’s Day.
After church, I took them to a very nice local restaurant to eat lunch. We all three had the rib-eye and Shrimp Father’s Day special. The food was incredible. The time we had together was even more special.
I love you dad! Happy Father’s Day…Every day of the year!
That brings up the subject of the blog.
Not long after we had ordered our food and my dad asked the blessing over the meal, Judy asked me a question.
It was not the kind of question that you just give a simple yes or no. It was not the kind of question that you can answer with one or two sentences.
This was a question that would take a little while to answer and explain…and I was excited to do so!
Judy’s question was this. “How was it that you chose to start going to the Methodist Church when you left the Church of God?”
The latter part of her question refers to almost four years ago when I made the decision to leave the Church of God for very personal reasons and look for another church to attend.
Let me make this very clear. I say the following without any hesitation or reservation. I LOVE the Church of God. I very much love the church that my father raised me in.
My father was a Church of God minister. He is retired now. He was my pastor all of my life growing up. I love the heritage that he raised me in, and I would not take anything for my Christian upbringing that he and mom afforded to me.
I grew up in a church that sang the hymns out of the church hymnal on Sunday mornings. I LOVE those old hymns. They have such incredible meaning. The hymns that were written by Charles Wesley, Fannie Crosby and many others who devoted their life to the ministry of music and church hymns.
I love hearing a message about God’s grace and God’s love toward us. I love hearing messages about the word of God and the incredible stories from the Bible. I love being challenged each and every Sunday to live a better life for Christ that I did the previous week. That is where the Holy Spirit comes in and a continual sanctification going on in our lives.
Enough of my theology. Let’s just say I had my own personal reasons to find a church where I felt comfortable — church like my father raised me in. To be ministered to like my father use to minister to me Sunday after Sunday.
I told Judy that the title “Methodist” was not why I started going to my church almost four years ago.
I did not care if the name of the church was First Church of the Folks that Love Jesus! It was not that the title was Methodist or Episcopal or Baptist or Lutheran or Catholic.
The title on the sign meant nothing to me.
What meant EVERYTHING to me was the incredible love that had been shown to me for over 20 years in that church.
Over those years, I have had many funeral services at First United Methodist Church. I have gotten to know many of the families in that church. They are some of the most loving and caring people that you could ever meet.
I had said for many years that if I ever left the church I had been going to, I would go to First United Methodist in a heartbeat!
So…four years ago I chose to start attending First Methodist.
From my very first Sunday there, I have felt like I was at “home”. I love the songs we sing. I love the sermons that are preached. (We have a Pastor that is pretty cool). But most of all I love the people in that church.
It does not matter who you are. It does not matter how much money you have or do not have. It does not matter what you have done in your past, good or bad. It only matters that they show you Christ’s love and they truly care about you.
I am a very strong advocate for church. And Lord knows we have plenty of them in Cleveland, Tennessee.
If you are looking for a church. If you are looking for a place to be loved and cared for. If you are looking for a place that sings the old hymns each Sunday and the pastor brings an incredible message of God’s love and God’s grace and the fact there is hope for all of us. If you are looking for all of those things…I invite you to come to First United Methodist!
When Pastor Tim greets you after church…tell him you heard about his church in Mark’s Blog!
Until next week!
Special note: I know the blog had a little different message this week. Just wanted to share with everyone my love for my church and my love for God’s church.