Not too long ago I stepped over to the church office from home to make a few copies for homeschooling purposes. When I arrived, one of the sweet ladies who gives of her time to clean the facilities was there. I stopped in the sanctuary for a moment to speak with her and exchange pleasantries. She was hard at work polishing the backs of the pews. It did not immediately register to me what she was polishing the pews with until I walked up and greeted her. As she sprayed the polish on the pews, she was rubbing it in with a pair of men's underwear.
I have learned a lot about frugality at the church I serve, from seeing used Ziplock bags washed and propped up on a dish drainer to dry, muffins brought to a fellowship on a meat tray, to some folks who drive cars that are twenty years old or older. But I just talked with her like polishing furniture with a pair of worn out men's underwear was the most natural thing in the world to me.
OK, something funny.
I haven't posted any lousy church signs in a while because I have not seen anything relatively original in its level of lousiness, just more and more of the same. However, this one I saw on an independent, fundamental baptist church a couple of days ago.
Those independent, fundamentals do tend to be fairly literal in their approach.
Take Christ out of Christmas and
all you're left with is _ _ _ _ _ _ mas.
Last week my good friend and fellow blogger Steve Sensenig posted on a topic that I had been mulling over for a while, particularly since I had been doing some private study on spiritual gifts for Wednesday evening services. In response to a request from another blogger, Steve posted on the topics of miracles and particularly healings, to which much of the discussion turned. (You can find the posts here, here, and here.) I won't get into the bulk of Steve's arguments because I would much rather you go there and read them for yourselves, giving him the hit counts he deserves.
I will say though that Steve's primary contention, and I believe it, was that healings are part of the Gospel message and serve a much greater purpose than just authentication. Healings are just as valid today as they were during Christ's time on earth and it is God's will that we be healed of our diseases and infirmities. Further, nowhere in Scripture is anyone ever told "no" to a healing request and Christ even healed some who didn't ask.
I haven't nearly shared the bulk of Steve's arguments but only to lead to this point. My wife has had kidney stone trouble for years. In summer 2003 she had a delicate operation where a stone was directly removed from her kidney. Since then, kidney stones have been a constant worry. Since our last baby was born, and even before the delivery, she has had a stone that has bothered her intermittently. Sometimes she has just been uncomfortable, other times she has been in severe pain.
This had been going on for over five months. Then I read Steve's posts on miracles, threw my two cents worth in the comment thread, and Steve helped me think through some things. I discovered my views on healings were not entirely biblical. I didn't tell my wife that I had been thinking and pondering and searching Gods' heart on this matter.
Late last week, I began to pray in accords with what I had learned from the Lord through Brother Steve. I claimed no promises, placed no obligation upon God, nor did I "pray in faith," as the faith healers say is necessary. I simply prayed, knowing what I now know about the character of God and His desires regarding physical healings.
My wife went to the doctor last week, had a culture done, and then this past Monday had an ultrasound. Leaving the hospital Monday she called me on the way out the door. There was no kidney stone. When we hung up, I wept and whispered a prayer of gratitude. Like I said, something amazing. I am still assimilating it all and I'm not sure how to completely respond; right now just in thanksgiving and praise.