Posted by: pastortomvabeach | April 6, 2017

Thought for the Week April 9, 2017

We are blessed by God’s grace. Last Friday a tornado struck in the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach which destroyed one church building and several houses leaving many others severely damaged. But, praise the Lord, no one was injured or killed. Several families in our church experienced varying amounts of damage to their homes or yards. I am writing this week’s thought while another tornado watch has been issued. We are all praying for God’s protection again.

Last week I began to share about Christian Chapel’s core values, those principles that we hold that make us a unique church among all the Christian churches in our city and world. Again, these are not our fundamental Bible beliefs although they are often informed by our beliefs. These are more the way we do things to be the church God wants us to be. If you recall, the value I shared last week was that we are Christ-centered.

Another strongly held value here is that we are people-focused. We state it this way, “We are over the top in loving, accepting, and making everyone feel like they belong because we believe that every person has infinite value to God.”

We believe that this value is part of the DNA of our church. I can remember the day I walked into Christian Chapel, at that time meeting in a small rental building on Lynnhaven Parkway. The first person Lilia and I encountered was Lydia Caloia. She greeted us as if she had known us all of her life, like we were family returning from a long time away. We instantly felt warmth, real concern, and love like we had seen nowhere else.

Through the years I have received comments from first time guests who express the same kind of experience. Lydia Caloia was not the only one who met us that way, just the first. She has long since moved to Florida and, a few years ago, passed away. But the DNA of the church remains. This is not something we teach in “how to greet people” classes. It is something that is caught because so many in our church exhibit the acceptance, openness, and true care for others that says to guests and family, “We love you.”

Friends, you don’t know how rare this type of characteristic is today, in churches. Time after time, I hear people say, “We went to this or that church and no one talked to us except the ‘official greeter’, and all they said was ‘hello’. No one seemed to notice or cared to ask our names.” I can’t tell you why that happens but when so many tell me the same thing about many different churches, I’m convinced it is happening.

We believe that like C.S. Lewis says, “You will never meet a mere human being. Everyone you meet is an eternal being destined to spend eternity either with God in heaven or in torment in hell.” Everyone is made in God’s image and is unique and of infinite value to Him. This is why He says, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16). People, a world full of people, of every size, shape, color, nationality, economic background, etc., were so important to God that He gave up His infinite Son, Jesus to die in their place. If people were that important to God, they better be important to us.

We don’t care what people wear to church, as long as they are dressed. We don’t care what their background might be or even if they believe in Jesus. In fact, we love having those who are still trying to figure out the whole Christian message with us. We believe that God accepts everyone just the way they are so we do the same. We also believe that God loves everyone enough that He will not leave us the way we are but want us to fall in love with Him so He can change us. And we let Him do it.

What about you? Have you seen the evidence of this DNA at Christian Chapel. If you have a story that tells you this is true, I would love to hear it and maybe be able to share it some day. So with this as part of your spiritual make-up, keep your eyes open, God has someone coming whom He wants you to love


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