Aaron and I have been in Spring for a little over a year now and we've yet to find a real church that both of us enjoy going to.
While we were doing our "couple" classes, we went to the catholic church that was giving our classes a couple of times just to see how we'd like it.
Aaron is Catholic, I'm not. However, I'm not opposed to going to a Catholic church. In fact, I enjoyed going to his church back in Orange.
This church that we went to, however, did not give me the same kind of feeling.
1) I never wanted to get out of bed to go and sit in a crowed service where people were not considerate enough to use the "cry room" for their obnoxious children.
2) The main priest was a boisterous man and I always felt that he was yelling at me. In fact, one afternoon before one of our meetings, he WAS yelling and screaming at a group of kids. I understand that the kids were being disrespectful during mass but he was taking it a bit to far.
3) We only actually heard the original priest twice. Then there was "guest" priests, none of whom I understood. Which meant that I spent the entire service picking at my nails, people watching, and feeling uncomfortable since I wasn't supposed to be "kneeling" with the others nor taking communion.
So we stopped going. Through out our time here I've always seen commercials for this church in the Woodlands called "Fellowship of the Woodlands." The services look fun and entertaining as well as give a good message and it seems like a great environment to raise children in. I've been wanting to go for a while, but Aaron's schedules or us going back and forth to Nederland/Orange kind of hindered that.
This weekend Jessica came down and her ex boss and his wife live in The Woodlands and go to that church. She was able to get someone to work for her at her own church so that we could go together to this one and let Aaron and I try it out to see how we liked it.
I'm going to stop the story here and give a bit of some back story:
I was raised "baptist" but I'm not really a practicing Baptist. I like to dance, I enjoy drinking with friends, etc. When Jessica started going to "Church on the Rock" back in Nederland I went with her a couple of times and really enjoyed myself. I thought that the sermons really hit home a lot of the time and the way that the preacher gave the sermon made it easier to relate to. Also, I found myself in tears EVERY single time that I went to church there. I can only imagine that this was God trying to talk to me and tell me that I needed something like this in my life and that He was going to show me the way.
Back to the main blog now:
So, we went up to the church, which has its own street out in The Woodlands, and people have to direct traffic because thousands and thousands of people attend. The church has its own book store and coffee shop/restaurant. The landscape is beautiful and there are two huge fountains that people get baptized in. We met up with Alton (Jess's ex boss) and Robin in the book store and looked around a bit before we went into the main sanctuary. Upon entering the main sanctuary, I was floored. There was people everywhere! It was like a convention center on the inside with a huge stage, big screen televisions to broadcast what is going on on the stage, as well as a band and singers.
The sermon began with Praise and Worship, which I absolutely love! I would LOVE to be in a church choir at some point in time in my life! It was like a concert and very awe inspiring. Then the preacher, Kerry Shook, came up on the stage. He talked about how him and his wife had ran a half marathon the weekend before and they had a video up about it ... "to show proof that they really did it", the video was hilarious and I loved the way that him and his wife treated each other. They wanted to do the marathon and cross the finish line hand in hand and they did just that!
This month's sermons revolve around one topic: The Biggest Loser. Which basically means "What are you going to lose by becoming a Christian and how to be a big loser." Last weeks sermon was about losing fear, which I really would have liked to have seen ... but this weeks sermon was about running your "own" race.
Aaron and I have been trying to work out and eat healthy in the New Year, therefore this sermon really hit home almost immediately ... but then it got better!
He talked about how God set each of us up with our own race and our own race track, but that we always try to compare our races (lives) to other peoples. He said that while they were running the half marathon the finish line coincided with the full marathon and there were people that ran twice as far as he did and still beat him. He said that if were comparing himself to them ... then that would have really discouraged him, but he was just comparing himself to himself ... and he was just happy that he finished without dying! This really hit home because I feel as if I always compare myself to other people, or those "hot bodies" that are on television and in magazines, when I really just need to focus on myself and the life that I'm leading and the race that I'm running.
Then he talked about letting go of the bitterness in our life and focus on the positive. This is another thing that I need to work on. I feel as if I have so much bitterness in my life that it leaves a funny taste in my mouth. I really need to expel this bitterness and have a healthier soul.
He talked about how there were obstacles that everyone had in their life ... and that some people just carried around a 45 pound weight all their life. This weight was made up of negativity and bitterness, and all of those other nasty feelings that we have about ourselves and others. Then he said that if we were carrying around a 45 pound weight ... when we came upon these other obstacles that inevitably going to come up in our lives ... that we would just stumble and not be able to recover from this obstacle. But that if we kept the weight out of our hearts then we would be able to bounce right over those obstacles in no time.
Then he showed us a video ... it was from a football movie ... something about "____ the Giants" ... I really need to look it up and watch it though. But the part that he showed had a guy that was the best player on the team and was the one that needed to lead the others but he had fallen into a rut and didn't care about practice and didn't care about his team mates. The coach made him do a "death crawl" (which has something to do with a person on your back and you have to walk across the field on only your hands and the balls of your feet.) The guy said .. "I might be able to go to the 20 yard line but that's it" and the coach told him ... "I think that you can make it to the 50 yard line ... I want you to do it blind folded and I want you to only give up when you think that you can't go ANY MORE." So he blind folded him, the other guy climbed on his back, and off they went. The entire time the guy was crying about how difficult it was and how he wasn't going to be able to do it, but the coach kept on and on about how he COULD do it and that he knew that he just had a little bit more in him ... and not to give up until he couldn't do it any longer. Finally when the boy collapsed, the coach removed the blindfold and the boy had collapsed in the end zone. He had carried a 140 lb man across an entire football field. Then he told the boy that he needed him to be a support system for this team, that if the team saw that he didn't want to do something that they wouldn't want to either, and that the coach believed in him and he knew that he would be able to do anything.
By the end of the clip, I was in tears. This also really hit home for me! Here I am complaining about how I want to lose weight, and how I'm tired of looking the way that I am ... etc etc etc. And yet what am I really doing to try and change it? When we go to work out, I basically complain the whole time ... and I'm not going to see any results doing that what so ever! Plus, I want to be a support system for my other friends, those that might have strayed from God's love, or those that have never known it. I want to be able to answer any questions that they might have, or even just be someone that they can come to if they just need someone to listen to them.
Once the service was over, I asked Aaron what he thought about everything, since he was not used to an experience like that at all. He didn't much care for the praise and worship part ... which I knew that, but he did really enjoy the sermon. His only problem was that it's hard for him to trust churches that are that big. He feels like these people might be taking money from the goers to fund their bookstores and restaurants, etc. But he did say that when he wasn't working the night before that he would go with me, and when he is working ... I will always be able to meet up with Alton and Robin, and of course Jessica when she comes back up here.
I am very interested in learning more about this church because I want to be able to be a member of a church before Aaron and I start having kids so that our children will be able to be raised in an environment such as this one. I'm also very excited about next month's series which is called "30 days to live" which focuses on what would you do with your life if you were told that you only had a month to life ... and being able to live your life like that not only for these 30 days but for the rest of your life ... which is weeks, months, years, and decades more!
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