Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I am Thankful For 2013 Edition

  1. God - The Alpha and the Omega, our Creator. I am thankful that God not only created all that we see in the sky, but took the time to make the Sun the exact temperature it needs to be while placing Earth the perfect distance from it while placing the moon in a perfect orbit around Earth while giving Earth the exact atmosphere that it needs to support life. Then He created life, and out of the billions of males and females my parents and my wife's parents met and gave birth to us.  
  2. Jesus - For without Jesus perfect sacrifice we would not have our sins forgiven and the promise of everlasting life. To think of the lashes and crucifixion endured all for us is beyond comprehension. 
  3. Holy Spirit - I am thankful that I have not a man who walks beside me to coach me but instead a force that lives in me and nudges me to do the right thing when the right thing is often the last thing I want to do
  4. Grace - Grace is unmerited favor, a gift that I did not earn. It is also the reason that I have a promise that can get me through the worst today has to offer. To think that after all I have done I will one day stand in front of God and because of grace will hear, "Son, well done!"
  5. Hope - My life as a Christian and the promises that come with it have taken me from hopeless and depressed to hopeful and optimistic. What an amazing transformation.
  6. The Bible - To think that I have a playbook that will get me through this life and into the next all while making me a happier and better person. 
  7. Julie - My wife is so much more than I deserve. I am so thankful that she can see me for who I am today and not the person I once was. 
  8. DJ - My first born has taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I was finally able to see how my dad felt about me. 
  9. Addison - My daughter has been a fighter since the day she was born and her constant happiness through her operations and struggles is what has allowed me to stay sane through it all. 
  10. Michal - My sister, because if she would not have been there for me when I was in the depths of my addiction I would be dead today. In fact, if she would not have come by my place after my suicide attempt and found me I would be dead for sure. 
  11. My Dad - The greatest man I ever knew. He personified several things but the most important was how to love unconditionally and for that I am forever thankful. I am the dad I am today because of him not in spite of him. 
  12. My Mom - She gave birth to me and always worked hard so that my siblings and I never went without. 
  13. Heidi and James - I am thankful that I have them as the other set of parents for my son. I could not imagine not getting along with DJ's other parents. 
  14. My In-Laws and DJs Grandparents - For giving me a chance to prove that I am not the man I once was and showing me love once you saw the love I had for Julie/DJ (depending on which person you are related to)
  15. The Wessleys and Kearbeys - Without your love, guidance and support I would never have made it through the rough patch after my dad's suicide and certainly would not have stepped foot into a church. 
  16. The Apostle Paul - I am thankful that I could read about a man who sinned in abundance like I did who was not afraid to talk about it. That he played such a huge part in the writing of the New Testament allowed me to see that if God's grace covered him it could cover me. 
  17. The Book of James - It is nice to have a short and concise book that outlines the way we as Christians are to live our lives. 
  18. Pastor James - Thanks for answering the hard questions that I had when I first started visiting a church and introducing me to the historicity of Jesus and the Bible.
  19. Apologetics - There is a certain feeling that you get when you actually begin to understand how scientifically, historically and philosophically that God exists and can explain that to others who have questions about Christianity 
  20. Lee Strobel - If not for The Case for Christ I do not know that I would have prayed that night and turned my life over to God
  21. Celebrate Recovery - Thank you Celebrate Recovery for teaching me multiple things. First, that there is a huge difference between abstinence and recovery. Secondly, that many people who do not use drugs/alcohol still have the same struggles as I do and I am not less than or worse than. I am also thankful that we will be starting The Landing next month at Glendale Christian Church and my wife and I will have the privilege of being part of it. The Landing is Celebrate Recovery for 13-18 year olds, and it will be the first one in Springfield.
  22. Narcotics Anonymous - For letting me know that it was possible to be an addict and quit using drugs. 
  23. Prayer - I love knowing that when life begins to overwhelm me I can always call a timeout and regroup
  24. Worship -  Not only does great worship prime me on Sundays and Fridays for the message that follows but worship music has greatly improved my mood and my attitude. 
  25. Glendale Christian Church - So thankful to have a church that is ministry minded and feels like home!
  26. Alternative Opportunities, Inc. - I love that I have a job I know makes a difference. I work at a place where I am surrounded by compassionate people who truly care about the populations they work with. 
  27. BLiR AKA Better Life in Recovery, Inc - I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for BLiR and how many people it can have a positive impact on. 
  28. Books - I believe one of the biggest sins we can commit against ourselves is to die ignorant and books have helped me insure this will not happen
  29. Sports - I love that I have an amazing past time both to watch and participate in. Whether it is weightlifting, MMA, basketball, football, baseball, boxing, tennis, softball, handball etc 
  30. Recovery - One of the greatest gifts I have ever been given was learning the difference between sobriety and recovery. Sobriety is simply abstinence while recovery is changing everything about yourself. I am so glad that I am not the man I once was and that thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit I have changed so much more than just my substance use: attitude, language, goals, outlook, etc.
  31. My Past - If not for my past I would not be who I am today. God has taken my tests and transformed them into my testimony and my stumbling blocks into stepping stones so that I can share that there is a Better Life in Recovery that has taken me from dealing dope to dealing hope.
This is a short list and I did not get very deep into the reasons why I love these. I missed many things, such as coffee and motivational interviewing, unconditional positive regard and eternal optimism but I hit on the highlights. Mostly, I am thankful that I have a God that is good all of the time, a wife that I can tell loves me just in by the way she looks at me, children that I dote on that dote on me and all of my needs met! Hope that you have an amazing Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

I am a Soft, Weak-minded Delusional Christian

Recently I was reading some articles on the problems with Christianity and reasons to abandon the Christian faith and I realized something. I am viewed by many atheists, agnostics and secularists to be soft, weak-minded and delusional. I have faith in a religion that I believe in for many reasons that I did not know. I act and think in ways that I did not realize until several authors were kind enough to inform me of them. Below are several of the reasons that they listed:

Christians believe in God out of Fear
 I had no idea that is why I had become a Christian. In fact, I can honestly say that Hell and fear had nothing to do with it. I became a Christian because I was hopeless and found hope. I had lived a life that was filled with anger and violence. I associated with psychopaths and was actually diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder as well as a masochist and sadomasochist.

Trust me, fear and cowardice are the very last reasons that I would have become a Christian. I would argue that I was agnostic out of fear and cowardice. The thought that I might have to pay for my transgressions or be held accountable for the lives I destroyed and the carnage I left behind kept me mired in addiction. As a Christian I live my life knowing one day I will stand before God and be held accountable for everything. Accountability is a huge part of a Christian's life.

Christianity Prays on Innocent People
I had no idea that I was innocent and prayed upon. Instead, I was a violent criminal addicted to drugs and alcohol that manipulated and used everybody that I came into contact with. I have done things in my life that make me the dregs of society and I did it all knowingly. I used to jokingly say, "If only the good die young, I will probably live forever."

Christianity, instead of praying on the innocent, gives hope to the hopeless and feeds and clothes the needy. They do attempt to give hope and faith to those who have been abused and taken advantage of, by funding homeless shelters and homes for abused women. How dare them!!

Christians Witness Too Much
This one cracks me up. Everybody witnesses too much. Pro-Choice people wax on about it being a women's body, and Pro-Life people say it's a life.. Those for guns constantly preach about their need while those for gun control witness about the damage they do in society. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Anarchists, etc all witness on and on about their form of government/non-government being the best and why. 

Secularists, humanists, agnostics and atheists recently had a Reason Rally where the leaders in their fields witnessed about their beliefs and were encouraged those in attendance to destroy Christianity by mocking and ridiculing Christians. That sounds a lot like witnessing to me. It actually sounds more like hate mongering. The difference is that when I witness about my faith, I do so to give people hope not to destroy what hope they have. 

Christians are Arrogant
Christians believe that they and only they have the right answer. I really cannot argue there. Life is kind of that way as well, but we have become very politically correct and moved away from it. There is some gray in our world, but it is mostly a black and white world. We are fooling ourselves and due to that we have grown soft as a society.

Some schools are no longer giving failing grades, and the students can answer as many times as they need to in order to finally obtain the correct answer. Wait until they hit real life, and they see that in most situations there is a right and a wrong thing to do. If I play a round of golf and I say I shot a 82 and my partner says I shot an 86, one of us is right and the other is wrong. We cannot both be right. The same is true of our beliefs. 

Christians Believe Out of Ignorance/Blind Faith in a Delusional God
Actually, most Christians I know who were saved later in life believe in God due to a personal experience they have had. That is why I have faith there is a God, because of the changes in my life since my transformation from dealing dope to dealing hope.

I am also an analytical person. I need proof of things before I can say I believe in them. Apologetics has done that for me. I now can argue Christianty using history, science and philosophy among other things. Look up fine tuning and cosmological theory to find out more.

Christianity is Cruel and Violent
There have been many killed under the guise of Christianity. There have been many times over that number killed by atheists under the guise of communism. From Pol Pot to Mao to Stalin atheists have slaughtered millions. Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, "the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our (Russian) people, Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."

I would ignore all of that and recommend that you go to any natural disaster the world over and see the outpouring from the Christian community. Go to many food pantries and see where the bulk of their contributions come from. In fact, most of them were started by Christians as individuals, their organizations or their churches. What a bunch of bullies! 

Christianity is anti-scientific and anti-intellectual
I will only defend this one with a small list of names: Allesandro Volta, Georg Ohm, James Prescott Joule, Lord Kelvin (Volt, Ohm, Joule and Kelvin units named after them), Louis Pasteur (Invented Pasteurization ), Gregor Mendel (father of modern genetics), Francis Collins (director of the National Human Genome Research Institute), Gerhard Ertl (Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry) and William Daniel Phillips (Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics).

Most of the books that I read once I got saved (and trust me going from where I was a decade ago to where I am now I was SAVED!) looked at science, history and philosophy to prove Christianity and they made valid points. I have listed several of them at the bottom. 

Christianity Causes Sexual Frustration
As an agnostic I slept with hundreds of women, literally. I am not bragging, simply being honest. I was in one short term relationship after another, frequently having multiple girlfriends at the same time. I tried to define myself by conquests, as I had no identity otherwise that I was fulfilled through.

I met a women a few months after I got saved, and we dated for over a year before we were married. We did not have sex until our wedding night, and it was amazing. I have been faithful to her and we have an amazing relationship based on more than our carnal desires because we instead focused on our friendship and developed respect for each other. I see her as my mate and not as an object. I am so much more fulfilled sexually now than when I was when I was agnostic. 

Christianity has a Narrow, Legalistic View of Morality
I agree, such a narrow view of morality. We are commanded to do two things above all other, love God and love our neighbors and treat them as we would wish to be treated. That is pretty narrow. Can you believe the concept of people treating everyone with the love and respect they themselves would like to be treated with. If people were to actually live their lives based on what is commonly known as "The Golden Rule" the world would be a much better place. 

In Closing
I am a reasonably intelligent person. I got clean after 20 years of substance abuse and more concussions than I can count on one hand. Before I started college I went to see a neuropsychologist and was told that I had an IQ of 129. I have since gotten an Associates, a double Bachelors in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in Social Work all while maintaining a 3.79 GPA.

I had a thirst for knowledge most of my life, even in my addictions. I read voraciously because I wanted the religion that my parents believed in to be wrong due to the judgmental and hypocritical attitudes that I had seen from Christians. I was searching for something, though. I reached a point where I was completely drained of hope and knew that I would never stop abusing drugs and living my life the way I did. There was no point in living life by rules if I didn't have to, and as an agnostic I didn't have to. What was the worst thing that would happen? 

So I continue to live my life as an agnostic who was clinically depressed, overcome with the urge to fight while stealing and sleeping from and with anyone and everyone. I was hopeless and hurting and the best that I could hope for was to be numb and not feel and I found that I could do that through my various addictions. 

I tried everything at one point or another to overcome my addictions and my past: residential/outpatient treatment, psychotropic medication, counseling (LPC, psychiatrist, psychologist), jail, prison, house arrest, 12 Step meetings and eventually suicide all to no avail. The day I turned to prayer was the last day I: drank, took drugs other than those prescribed as prescribed, smoked a cigarette, had premarital sex and got into a fight outside of a ring. It was life changing. 

Yet I still had questions. I still had questions and doubts so I have continued to read and study. Here are some of the books I would recommend to you if you have doubts about what to believe:
  1. The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
  2. The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
  3. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  4. What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
  5. Where is God When it Hurts by Philip Yancey 
  6. Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell

All I know is that I used to destroy families and lives through the distribution and manufacturing of methamphetamine while reveling in breaking the law and using as many people as I came into contact with. Today I have found happiness in the form of hope. If that makes me a soft, delusional person than I am fine with that. This soft, delusional person has helped countless people get off of drugs, encouraged those who were living criminal lifestyles to get their GEDs and go to college by sharing what I have now with them.

Hi my name is David and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who has struggled in the past from the effects of being sexually, emotionally and physically abused as a youth, depression, anxiety, isolation, low self-esteem as well as addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, criminality, power and food. I have found a Better Life in Recovery and a better life through Christ and so can you.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Knock Out Game or How Lame Can You Get

What is the world coming to? Recently the media has been talking about a thing called the Knockout Game or Knockout King. It is about time that they caught on to something that has been going on for the past decade plus but is just now getting coverage. Let us not call it a game but instead what it is, which is an assault. More than that, it is the lamest type of assault you could possibly think of so we will call it  the I Am a Punk Assault Game, or PAG for short. So what is PAG? Why is it lame?
For starters, PAG has been going on in several major metro areas across the nation and appears to be spreading. In PAG, some “tough” guy (punk teenager) attempts to knock someone out by sucker punching them as the either walk by them or by running up behind them. I know what you are thinking, what a ignorant sissy thing to do.
That is what I thought too, but it actually gets worse. This is being done by teenaged males (and females) to teenage and 20-something 110 pound females. It is being done to disabled 50 plus year old males. How big of a pansy do you have to be to sucker punch a girl or a disabled guy? Is this what being “gangster” has been reduced to by our newest generation?
Come on kids! Join a boxing or MMA gym and actually make some money from the violence if you are all that you think you. Based on the attacks, I imagine you are not all that you are trying to convince people you are. If you have to prove that you can knock someone out with a single punch by sucker punching them you might as well hit them with your purse, you Nancy.
The saddest part of this is that some of the people that have been sucker punched have died either from hitting the concrete or breaking their neck from the fall. All of this to see if they can either knock someone out with one punch or to prove that they are tough. What an ignorant and weak thing to do. How is targeting primarily females, the elderly and the disabled who are almost always all by themselves prove anything? How pathetic do you have to be to sucker punch someone that has done nothing to you or anyone that you know? How are you proud enough about it to paste it on YouTube? These are some sad, weak and tiny people.
So what can we do?
Come on parents and community! Be more aware of the company your children keep. Spend quality time with your children. Teach them to respect others as well as themselves by setting an example for them that they can model. Find them hobbies and activities that are positive they enjoy. Set up activities for youth in your community. Have your children in church at least twice a week, once on Sunday and again for the Youth Night as well as in a small group. Studies have shown that kids who attend church twice a week graduate at a higher rate, commit less crime and have less status offenses. Seriously, though, SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR KIDS!!
Rant over...................................................................................

Monday, November 18, 2013

3 Things About God that Changed Me Forever

When I first came to church I had very low self-esteem and self-confidence. I hated myself and could never forgive myself for the things I had done and the things that had been done to me in my past. I was hopeless, depressed and angry. I had quit illegal drugs but I was still an alcoholic that constantly got into fights and wallowed in self-pity and apathy. I was an Agnostic and then I had a life changing, Pauline conversion that you can read about here After my conversion, I had so many questions, but several stuck out:
1.       Why would God forgive me when I could not forgive myself?
2.       How could God love me when I could not love myself?
3.       How could God have confidence in me when I had none in myself?
I was lost and angry. I had a new life but I could not see how God could possibly forgive me for everything I had done after I had spent my whole life disappointing Him. Then I ran into three Biblical truths and God opened my eyes to what they meant for me:
1.       God forgives all things. This is stated by Paul, when he said, “Christ Jesus died to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.” Paul at one time had killed Christians simply for believing in God and not renouncing their faith. If God forgave Paul for that, surely He will forgive us of our sins as well.
2.       God is love. He loves us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins. That love is unconditional, as expressed in the story of the prodigal son. The son was ready to work as the lowest of the low after betraying his father and yet his father still had a place for him at the head of the table, just like our Heavenly Father has for us.  After all that we have done, He is still there to love us and expects more from us than we expect for ourselves because of the following truth.                                                           
3.       God has confidence in us because he is the Alpha and the Omega. This is the one that blew my mind and helped me the most. He has confidence in us because He knows what we are going to do before we do it. Following is why this was such a boon to my self-esteem.
God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Therefore, God is omnipotent, which means that he is all-powerful. He is omnipresent, which means that he is in all places at all times. He is omniscient which means that he is all-knowing. What does this mean for us? I am going to give a very short answer for this one, and I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me at one time.
He always was and always will be. He lives above and beyond time. That is how anything that is eternal has to be. Because He has always lived and is in the past, present and future He knows the mistakes we make before we make them. That is not the awesome part. The awesome part is that he knows how many mistakes we will make before we get it right. Let that sink in for a moment; He knows how many mistakes we will make before we get it right! What does this mean for us?
God is never disappointed in us. I relapsed many times in the past yet God was there cheering me on every time. I denied God multiple times, yet every time that I did God was there cheering me on. He was cheering me on because He knew how many times I would fail before I succeeded.
How awesome would that be? Knowing how many times your child would lie to you until the last time after which they would never lie to you again. Would that lead you not to disappointment when it happened but instead joy because they are one closer to it never happening again!
What I began to see was that every time I denied Christ, God was cheering for me. Every time that I relapsed, God was rejoicing! I could hear Him saying the next to last time I relapsed, “One more and you are mine for good!”  
Never forget, God is your biggest cheerleader. He already knows the successes you will experience and the glory your life will end with!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Reaching the Lost: Apologetics and More

Hi, my name is David and I am a Christian. It was a hard process for me to become a Christian, because of various factors. I would like to talk about the things that kept me away from God for so many years, discuss what we can do to help people come to Christ. Some things are beyond our control because of the world we live in. Those should not be your focus. Instead, look at the things under your control. I know you can impact lives positively, because there were people who impacted mine.
I lost my faith at a very young age. My parents were hypocrites and although they were respected in the church, it was because nobody saw who they really were. Then I went through sexual, physical and emotional abuse from the age of 4 through the 6th grade and I became Agnostic. I did not know whether or not there was a God. I only knew that if there was one, He obviously did not care about me. If He cared none of the abuse would have happened.
I met kids at school that went to church, or at least I thought they did. I would hear them talk about seeing each other in church, or hear them talk about God. Then I would hear them cussing, picking on a less popular kid or see them fighting. As I grew up these are the kids I would go out drinking and chasing women with. In dealing with the Christians around me I only knew one thing; they were just like me. 
As I continued drinking and then moved into drugs, the people that I would hear talk about God became fewer and fewer. They were still in my life, though. I remember one of my friends would get high on meth and then spend hours telling me how worried he was for me, because I was going to go to hell because I was not saved like him. I continued to see the hypocrisy that I associated with Christians.
Over the course of my life, I would try to belittle Christians by asking those questions they never had answers to. I used my Agnosticism to feel intellectually and emotionally superior to them. I would ask them why they believed in God and the answer was usually because that was how they grew up, because they were afraid of going to hell or it was what the Bible said.
I would argue scientifically or historically and they never had any answers, instead leaning on faith and dogma. In my depression I would ask them even harder questions, like why would a God who loved me allow me to be brutalized as a youth and they never could answer with anything other than, “God has a plan.”
His plan sucked, in my opinion. I knew several things about Christians in my youth:
1.       Christians were hypocrites
2.       Christians were judgmental
3.       Christians believed in God out of blind faith
4.       Christians believed in God out of fear of going to hell
5.       The only difference between me and a Christian was they had been dunked in some water and believed in a God. They lived their lives no differently than I did: drinking, drugs, lying, fighting and sleeping around.   
I think if you were to talk to most non-Christians about their feelings on Christians, you would get most if not all of what I just listed above. Christians are called by God to do many things. Because we are not doing them, this is the opinion that many secularists/Atheists/Agnostics/Seekers have of us. There is no difference between Christians and the people outside of the church, so why believe in God? He obviously makes no difference in people’s lives.
My life was changed because of several things. I encountered people who represented Christianity well. They lived their lives morally and were incessantly hopeful and optimistic. They were the polar opposite of the people we both worked with. They loved me even though I was a wreck. They cared even though I was an Agnostic, criminal and addict. They lived their lives well and wanted to see the people around them living better lives, too.
When I had questions they could not answer, they admitted they didn’t know. Then they introduced me to someone that did. He could answer the hard questions I asked. He was able to tell me scientific, historical and philosophical reasons for his faith. For example, I was introduced to Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ and Doug Powell,s book Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics.
Finally, I was introduced to Paul and heard about his struggles and how he overcame them. I heard Christian songs in church talking about the same struggles I had and how Christ was the answer. I heard testimonies through Celebrate Recovery that started with the hopeless and ended with hopeful thanks to the Holy Spirit.
What does this mean for you personally? What can we do to change how the world sees us?
1.       Let people see Christ by representing Him. Live your life as an agent of change by being different than the people around you. Don’t cuss, lie, gossip, have premarital sex, overeat, be lazy at work and quit doing drugs and smoking cigarettes. Your body is the temple of God and you are turning it into an amusement park.
2.       Instead of seeing the worst in people, talk to them and show concern and compassion for them. Care about people, even those who don’t care about themselves. You may be the first person to show interest in them or to have faith that their lives can get better. That is a powerful thing, it gives hope!!
3.       Be able to explain why you believe in God from several different angles. Make sure that one of them is personal experience and then have a couple of others after you study a couple of books on apologetics. Discuss those books with an accountability partner and be prepared to defend your reasons.  Better yet, start an apologetics small group at your church.
4.       Realize that fear of hell is not a reason to believe in God. I know the difference that my heavenly father made in my life. Because of that, I want Him to be proud of me. I don’t live my life the way I do out of fear of hell. I have lived through hell. I do it out of respect and because I want God to one day tell me, “Well done!”
5.       If we are saved, we are different. We should be proud of that difference. We have a message of hope that can save lives. Shout it from the roof tops. I know that you don’t want to offend people, but it will happen. You have no problem offending people that feel differently about politics or the economy. Why are you scared now?
In closing, remember that you may be the only Christian someone comes in contact with. What impression are they left with after they spend time with you? Your attitude, actions and language may be all that stand between someone being a victim or a victory!

Monday, November 4, 2013

We Finally Found Our New Home

If you have read or heard anything that I have written or my wife has had to say, we have gotten to a point where we do not feel comfortable in church. Because of that it had become a struggle every week to even make it to church. In fact, we would find excuses to not attend church. I would bet that over the past 6 months we have not attended more than we have attended church. I had forgotten just how much break ups can hurt, and was quickly reminded of it this year.
Since March we have tried various churches. We have visited some really good churches. Some of them were more appealing than others, but something was always missing. None of them felt like home. Maybe there was too much pop psychology for us and not enough Jesus.  Maybe the worship music was not what we needed: either too traditional or they played secular music. Maybe they did not have a recovery program or their children’s program was not what we needed. Something was missing, so my wife and I compiled a list of what we wanted in a home church.
It turns out there are a lot of things that my wife and I wanted to find in our church:
1.       A sermon that was Biblically sound with a lot of meat and little fluff
2.       A great kids program
3.       A worship team that played worship music
4.       A recovery program
5.       Sunday school
6.       An accessible pastor that tended his flock
My wife and I started exploring various churches, looking for ones that met our criteria. She sent me a link for Glendale Christian Church (GCC). I went to their site and read about it. Everything looked good. I then listened to a couple of the sermons they had posted, and the message sounded great. They even had their worship songs listed on the site, and the sets were amazing. So, we decided to give it a shot.
Two Sundays ago we went there for the first time. At most of the churches we had tried something had gone wrong or sounded wrong or simply did not fit our needs. Glendale hit on everything on our list, going above and beyond our expectations on almost all of them. It all began in the daycare when we first came inside.
We walked in and went to the daycare to drop off our daughter, Addison. She normally cries when we hand her over to the daycare workers. I sat her on the floor so I could fill out her sticker, and the door to the daycare opened up as someone else put their kids in and she just walked inside and started playing. We then asked a guy about classes for my son. He said that DJ would go up after worship to his class. He then found us 10 minutes later inside of the congregation and said that he was wrong, and DJ could go to his class now.
I took DJ up to his class and dropped him off. My son knew the song they were worshipping to and took off inside. I went back down and listened to the sermon. I enjoyed the sermon, and the worship music they played really primed me to receive the message it contained. Then we went to get DJ from class. Normally, when I pick DJ up from class and ask him what he learned he tells me he doesn’t remember. This time he was able to list several people from the Bible they had talked about as well as two of the songs they had sang in worship.
We did not stay for Sunday school the first week, as we already had other plans. So we picked up DJ and left. I figured that they would send us a form letter or give us a call during the week. I was wrong. Instead, the senior pastor showed up at the house with fresh baked bread and talked to Julie for a while. He left there headed to several other people’s houses. Not going to lie, that really impressed me a lot.  It might have made a bigger impression on me than anything.
Friday we attended the Celebrate Recovery (CR) group at Glendale. It was everything that a CR should be. Friendly, happy, safe and you feel that you can talk about the things that you need to share and no one will judge you or look at you differently. The Celebrate Recovery Missouri State representative goes to GCC. I was glad they  had a CR over any of the other recovery groups I have ever attended. I love CR in particular because of the change it has made in my life, so I was very happy to go to another one and can envision myself becoming a productive part of it in the future.
We came back and attended GCC again this past Sunday. I heard one of  the best worship services I have sat through (ever) and the sermon focused on fulfilling our Christian commission by going into jails and/or prisons if we felt called to do so as part of their prison ministry. This time we went to Sunday school and it was also really good. After Julie and I left we talked about our experience there. We had each encountered so many positives that we both had reached the same conclusion ……….we had found our new home!