Sunday, October 31, 2010

When the World Knocks at Your Door

I don't celebrate Halloween. Just thought I'd get that out there from the beginning.

My parents never had my siblings and I celebrate it at all growing up, and now that I'm older and making my own decisions and developing my own convictions based on the Word, I also choose to not celebrate Halloween. Wait, wait, I know what you're thinking! That I'm one of those judgmental Christians who seeks to impose my beliefs on everyone around me, whether or not they have the same convictions. Nope! That's not me. I definitely believe that it is every believer's responsibility to make decisions on everything they do based upon what God says in His Word and the convictions He has placed on them, not do stuff because everyone else does (or doesn't do it, for that matter!). I know several Christians who are strong in their walk and feel complete freedom to celebrate this day. I know others who literally start preaching against it the moment October 1st hits. Either way, each person has their stance, and it just so happens that this is how God has led me personally.

When the siblings and I were younger, my parents would put a sign on our door every Halloween asking people not to knock....I mean, that's way easier then getting up and down to answer the door only to disappoint people when you don't have candy to offer! We would pop popcorn and watch movies, or sometimes go to a church event, you know, one of those Fall Festivals that get put on with games and snacks and whatnot. There was always an alternative to celebrating Halloween, and looking back I appreciate that.

Recently my thinking was challenged about the celebration of this holiday. Sadly, I don't remember the pastor who said it, or his exact words, but this was the basic idea. As Christians, we are constantly seeking out people, going out of our way to share the gospel and to reach out to people. Many times we'll get more rejections than people accepting Christ! But on this one day out of the year, we actually have people coming TO us, of their own accord! What better opportunity to reach out to both kids and adults (oh, and teens too!) with the hope we have in Christ?

Granted, this isn't to create an open door policy that allows us to put ourselves into situations that would compromise our testimony for the sake of "sharing Christ." Obviously we are to use wisdom and only operate under the Spirit's leading! But I think, especially now that I'm older (yeah I know, all 21 years of my life haha), and now that I've actually developed a conviction about this, I can move in the direction of not shutting people out who think/believe differently than me, but instead I can be looking for ways to reach out and show Christ's love to the very people who are reaching out to me! And who knows, maybe it wouldn't hurt to share Christ with some candy! Disclaimer:  I'm sure it would be harder for a family with small children who doesn't celebrate Halloween to constantly have their door opening and closing with the intention of sharing Christ with the people asking for candy, but the kids not fully grasping the gravity of what's happening (i.e., all they know is that other kids are getting to dress up in cool costumes and go door to door for candy, but they can't.). So again, use discernment, and stand firm in whatever conviction the Lord leads you to from His Word!

I certaintly don't condemn those who disagree with me. That's not the point of this post! I simply know that I want to take advantage of every opportunity provided to me to share the love of Christ with the people around me. Every day. Including October 31st.

Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6

Photos courtesy of Google Images

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Years and Counting!

Time flies so quickly, and it can be so hard to realize it until it's passed. This past weekend I had the privilege of celebrating my church's 10th anniversary, woohoo! God has done some awesome things through the ministry at Trinity Baptist Church. For one, this is the church where I accepted Christ as my Lord and personal Savior! (PRAISE HIIIM!!) Pastor Eddie (who also happens to be my best friend's dad-pretty cool, eh?) preached a sermon about heaven and hell, and I realized that even though I had a complete head knowledge of salvation, I had never truly accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, making me unsure of my eternal destination. So on February 18th, 2001, I entered into the family of God, and it was the best decision I ever made. Ever. :) So yeah, it's been awesome growing up in one place, from junior high, to the teen class, to the A-Z Discipleship class, until I left for college! And even then whenever I'd come home I knew I could find a home at Trinity. There's definitely an awesome body of believers there.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to capture all of the photos I wanted of the church's anniversary service, but at least I took some! The day before the Sunday service there was a really nice dinner for all the members and some guests, so this is where the pictures are from.

The tables were so nicely decorated!

I was pretty much in love with the drink fountains. :) 

These were the centerpieces for the tables. The glass containers were filled with mustard seeds, representative of the faith we've had in God to make it this far as a church to further God's kingdom! Very creative and symbolic.

I pretty much loves the rose balloons.

A few of the teens.

The parents! :) 

Blurry, but the praise team is singing.

My pastor is on the left, Pastor Reynolds is in the center. (He's the pastor of Trinity's sending church!) Pastor Davis is on the end. He preached on anniversary Sunday.

Me and Pastor Eddie!

Whether I'm at Trinity or somewhere else in the future, I know that the more Trinity grows together in the Lord, the more it will be able to do for God's kingdom! She may not be a huge church, but she's impacting the community with the gospel of Christ in a great way, and because of that God is glorified. Looking forward to seeing all that happens in the next ten years! ;-)