I survived my first Sunday as area church leader in Dimmitt yesterday. Actually, I really enjoyed it.
Right now I'm struggling with a lot of things, especially church in America. It's been really easy for me to hop on the "slam the church" bandwagon again. But God never lets me sit in that negativity for for very long. Amber lovingly told me that methods don't matter, it's people. I knew that, but I needed the reminder. It's just hard for me to be back in big churches where people don't sit next to each other and we don't look each other in the eye.
It's been this huge thing for me to be able to pay attention to sermons. I slip back into old habit of zoning out, but I'm trying to really listen. The thing is, I love sermons. I listen every morning to Matt Chandler (The Village Podcast) and it's so encouraging. I think I'm just addicted to conversational sermons, and slideshows drive me crazy. I just have to remind myself that I'm in a different culture. Even if I don't like it, it's how they do things. The things that are said are still good and encouraging, I'm just having a hard time adjusting.
Small groups with the AIMers start on Tuesday, and I'm really excited about the small group Gary and I started in my house on Wednesdays. Last week there was just 5 of us but it really felt like a family. I miss that. I miss Sergei and Ira and Alosha and others I was close to in Russia. I think God knew that, and He gave me an awesome email from Sergei this morning. Before I left Russia I wrote him a letter kind of like Paul wrote Timothy, and it made me so happy to hear he had read it many times. It really gave me the energy to press on today.
I feel like I'm kind of in a rut right now. I really need to spend some time doing some soul-searching and re-examining exactly what I'm living for. Whenever I don't do that God usually does it for me, and that usually involves a lot of pain and tears. So I'm kind of hoping I can do it myself this time.
I praise God for His wonderful love He's showed to us. It's so easy to get focused on all kinds of other things, but then I feel the soft whisper of God saying with a smile, "Life isn't about you". And then I stop... look up, and remember. Life is more important than my silly problems and saying that "God is in control" isn't some silly cliche. It's personal, and I love it. My prayer as I go to bed tonight is that we don't get so caught up in the thickness of life, and that we can constantly reflect on Christ, from whom all life flows.
7 hours ago