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Friday, April 1, 2011

Show Us Your Life - My Church

Today over at Kelly's Korner she's featuring churches and I'm proud to show off mine!


I'm a proud member at Central Avenue Church of Christ in Valdosta, Georgia. Zach was born and raised in the church and always attend at Lakeland Church of Christ in Lakeland. Georgia. I was raised Catholic and when I first called my mom to tell her about Zach I told her that he was a strange religion. She warned me that he'd probably try to "convert" me and she was right (although we all know JESUS does the converting right?)! He taught me about the love of Jesus, that the Bible IS God's Word and an instruction book for our lives, and that baptism IS essential to salvation. My first time visiting Zach's church in Lakeland was also the first time I met his family and the first time I'd opened a New King James Bible. Even in that first class it all clicked with me and made me realize that I had a void in my life that only Jesus could fill.

Zach actually baptized me a few months later and I've been growing closer and closer to God each day since then. If you want to know more about baptism, why it's essential, and how it is LIFE CHANGING you can read the blog post I wrote about it here! Most of my friends are Baptist (we live in the Bible belt people!) and many of my friends had never heard of the Church of Christ until I joined (heck, I'd never heard of it until I met Zach!). What is the Church of Christ? I like this definition from church-of-christ.org: "We are nondenominational and have no central headquarters or president. The head of the church is none other than Jesus Christ himself (Ephesians 1:22-23). Each congregation of the churches of Christ is autonomous, and it is the Word of God that unites us into One Faith (Epesians 4:3-6). We follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his holy Apostles, and not the teachings of man. We are Christians only!"

Central Avenue Church of Christ
 People that have heard of the Church of Christ typically say one of two things about us: 1) "you're that church that doesn't have musical instruments right?" and 2) "aren't you the ones that think you're the only ones going to Heaven?" To answer those questions simply: yes to the first, no to the second.

We sing during church services (Ephesians 5:19) but do not clap or have any musical instruments. We follow the Bible and believe every word it says to be truth. We do not add to or take away from that word (Rev 22:18-19). I'm no Bible scholar but did find this quick explanation: "As we consider the matter of using or not using mechanical instruments of music when we sing and worship the Lord God, the question is simply: Is the use of such instruments according to God's truth? If so, then there is no problem in using them. On the other than, if we do not find scriptural statements that authorize their use, then using them would not be according to His truth, and thus unscriptural. The Bible doesn't say that people in the New Testament church used instruments in worship; so therefore we don't!" Could we get to Heaven someday and God say "man guys you could have totally had musical instruments during worship and I wouldn't have minded!"? Maybe. But God gave us the Bible as our guide and in order to spend eternity with Him we need to follow it the best we possibly can!

The assumption that members of the Church of Christ believe they are the only ones going to Heaven REALLY bugs me. I've never one time, EVER heard someone say that!!! ANYONE who follows the Gospel, who believes that Jesus is the son of God, who repents of their past sinful life, who confesses their love for Christ, who is baptized in him (Acts 2:37-38), and follows God's Word WILL be in Heaven right beside me :) Is the gate narrow? YES! (Matt 7:13-14) And as a Christian, it's my responsibility to spread knowledge of our Savior to as many people as I can so that we ALL can spend an eternity with our Lord (Matt 28:19)! Many people I don't go to church with will fill the kingdom of God and many people who we do attend church with also probably won't (Matt 7:21).

After attending Lakeland for a couple years I was in need of a change. Everyone there is SUPER sweet and wonderful but it's Zach's home church and it's SMALL. His whole family attends there and most of the congregation is older. To grow in my spiritual walk I needed to be around more people my age, find my own niche and make Christian friends. We joined Central four years ago this November and I LOVE IT!!! We go to church Sunday mornings for Bible study and worship, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights for mid-week Bible study and our little family needs those times with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It boosts our spirits, our outlook on the world, and our abilities to fight the devil ('cause boyyyy he's a tough one and you CAN'T face him alone!!!).

We have a GREAT group of young couples, a TON of kids around Kye's age, and so many fun events to get everyone involved. I especially love Feeding the Flock every other Wednesday night when we can eat and fellowship together! Our church is also starting a new, amazing, youth program called Faith Lane and it's going to be so wonderful for the children of the congregation. We have a group of incredible leaders and one of the main reasons Zach and I joined Central is our preacher, Bryan. So often preachers seem to be on a pedestal and it's hard to relate to them or be yourself around them (at least to me!) and I so appreciate how Bryan is relate able. He's human like the rest of us and he's not afraid to share his weaker moments or sin struggles.

I'm so thankful that Kye (and our future children) will be raised in the church and will know Jesus from a young age. I'm thankful that we have a church home and an amazing church family. I'm thankful we are getting more and more involved with that family both inside and outside of the church walls. I'm thankful that we have a Savior to save us from our lives of sin. I'm thankful that I can lay my head down at night and know, without a doubt, that when I die I WILL be in Heaven!

Kye's first church visit - 2 weeks old
I'd love to know more about your churches! And if you're in the Valdosta area I'd love for you to come visit mine with us sometime :) If you have any questions about anything I've written - PLEASE let me know and if I can't answer something I can direct you to someone with a little more Bible knowledge than me ;)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emily :) I appreciate that you don't say a person has to believe that while they are being baptized, they are being saved or else they weren't really saved. I actually am a Christian and about 8 years ago one of my friends who became a Christian through a church of Christ in VA Beach invited me to her church, I had no idea what church of Christ was and was a follower of Jesus with the holy spirit active in my life and I had been baptized. (although I go to calvary chapel and don't believe it is for salvation). This church convinced me that I wasn't really saved because I didn't believe when I was baptized I was being literally saved. They convinced me some of my family and friends weren't, etc. I did get baptized with them but it was the most unpeaceful time in my life because I knew I belonged to the Lord and had a relationship with Him and Loved him so much. It tore my heart up and was a real challenge in my walk with God :( I loved the church and the people there but this was so hard for me I could no longer go to it. It was very hard for me...so this is just something to watch out for with other people...it is good that you don't discount that others that have repented and given their lives to Jesus and have been baptized. I'd love to hear from you! Oh and congrats on your baby girl! You are probably crazy busy and tired right now! I am 9 weeks pregnant now with a little boy and girl at home :) God bless your family :o)

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