I am truly thankful today for my church, Temple Baptist Church.
When I first accepted Jesus as my savior, I was told to find a Bible-preaching church so I could grow in my new found faith. I didn't know many Christians who lived nearby. My grandparents were in PA, my closest friend lived in Greenwich, and I lived in Albany, NY. But I had a co-worker who knew the Lord, and when I told her I wanted to find a church, she did not hesitate to tell me about Temple Baptist.
I was afraid. I was nervous. I was excited too. She told me she would meet me there that Sunday at 11am. I showed up, new bible in hand, and almost didn't get out of my car! Eventually I did, and made my way across the parking lot and up the front steps. What a grand entrance I thought...and felt another pang of anxiety. I was greeted very kindly at the door and made my way up another flight of steps into the sanctuary. I was overwhelmed. The amount of people already there was remarkable. I scanned the sanctuary for my friend...she was no where to be seen. I nervously sat in the back center row, hoping to spot my friend walking in the door before the service started. It was 11:02am. She wasn't coming. I wanted to leave.
Just then, a man approached me. Again, anxiety washed over me. He was coming right towards me. I couldn't escape. He introduced himself and welcomed me to the church. I confessed to him that I was nervous and was supposed to be meeting a friend. He assured me that I would love the service and urged me to stay. If I didn't like it, I didn't have to come back. So I stayed. And I did return...again and again and again. That was in September, 2000.
The pastor was enthusiastic and full of the Holy Spirit! He was a hippie preacher with so much love for the Lord it overflowed into the sanctuary every time I heard him speak. I was in such amazement of the words that were coming out of his mouth. It could only be Spirit-inspired.
Temple Baptist Church has become my home church. The people I've met there follow the Lord with a passion. I love the ministries they endorse, such as MOPS, divorce care, grief share, and especially the children's programs. They reach out to the poor, the elderly, the community, the teens, and across the world, starting new churches and missions. They are what a church should be.
This is the place I go for fellowship, for renewal of my spirit, for Bible study, for outreach. It's a place I feel safe and peaceful. It's where I was baptized, where my husband and I were married, where our boys were dedicated to the Lord, and where 2 of our boys were baptized.
It's a place I hope to treasure for years to come.
I thank the Lord for my church.