date night with my man happens on tuesdays nights. my niece gets picked up & my mother in law picks up my son and by 4:15 I'm on my way to the grocery store, child free. Then I run home, put away the groceries and pick up Luke to head to Wheaton. Then we find a restaurant and enjoy dinner before we head to small group. Tuesdays is one of my favorite days!
because Luke just had his birthday we have some gift certificates for dinner places (yay for the entertainment budget!). so, one of them was for a japanese steak house. I've only been to one three other times so i was excited for the tricks and the food. but, i hadn't remembered the fact that you sit with other people. scene 2: in walks people who will accompany us... man with braided beard. first thought: don't judge, he looks jolly just with two braids in his beard...hahahaha.
Hilarity ensued when the waitress came to take our drink orders, when she looked at him she laughed in his face. he took it well. maybe you had to be there?!
but what happened next shocked me. He was with what seemed to be a long time friend and her 16 year old daughter. the lady was telling a story about another teenage son of hers and his 'bad' behavior. then, she looked at us said, 'never have teenagers.' Luke replied, 'well, i work with them for a living.' they asked, are you a teacher, what do you do? Luke: nope, I'm a youth pastor. them: what church? luke: harvest bible chapel. braided beard guy: oh i bought a boat from a guy there, they have an amazing building out in elgin, i want to check that place out sometime, he told me they have a saturday night service and they don't bother you or nothing or make you come to the front.
enter my mind: hmmm... this is what a lot of people think about churches. if i go, will i be hassled, what do they make me do?
part of my story: i grew up going to church. in fact i've only really attended three churches in my life: willow creek (one of the largest in the country/world), harvest (growing at 12,000 currently), and apex (about 1,000+?). big churches don't scare me because that's what I've always been part of. it is intimidating to go into a place you've never been before and hard to meet people, of course. but I would never want people to not want to go to church just because of the fact that they will be hassled when there... I believe conviction is different than hassle. by hassle I mean forced to give money, raise their hands etc. If they feel convicted by the Holy Spirit when told about the gospel that's what should be happening.
This situation really opened my eyes to what people think about church and I want to be a believer that shines the light of Jesus and makes people desire to come to church. Not leaving out the gospel or denying any part of it. God continued to work on my heart at Small Group because while studying Crazy Love we were talking about being in love with God and when we are in love in a human relationship we will go to the ends of the earth to be with that person. but, with God so often we compromise our time with him to do the laundry or that nagging list of 'temporary items' that won't matter next week. If I talked about Jesus as much as I talk about Luke and Carter I think that I'd be shining the light of Jesus much more. That was my thoughts this week. What has God been impressing upon your heart?!