Yesterday was a great day.
It was one of those Sundays that make the weekend feel complete. In fact, Sundays are easily becoming my favorite day of the week.
Yesterday I slept in and went to the 11:30 service with my sister and a friend at Crosspoint Community Church, where I've been attending for the past few months. Let me tell you a bit about my experience with this church. I was raised Southern Baptist and later converted to Methodist. And with half of my family being Catholic, I have an appreciation for tradition/custom and strict doctrines. Plus I love a good choir. So you can imagine that when my friend Jill invited me to attend Crosspoint, a nondenominational community church complete with high-tech audio/visual effects and a rock band, I was more than hesitant. I kept picturing some guy going "Dude Jesus Rocks!" before starting a round of praise songs. Which actually wasn't completely off-base... My first experience left me feeling reminiscent of the Youth Group praise services at the Baptist Church I attended so frequently in middle and early high school. Surely many of you who were active in church, especially here in the South, know that feeling. It's a good one.
Sidenote/Off Track Thought - In fact, I often feel that I owe my love of worship to the members of the Heritage Baptist Church Youth Group and our leader Bill Page. My memories of singing praise songs and truly feeling that sense of Christian community are all centered on my experiences in that trailer behind the church. It was then that I remember first feeling accepted and loved by people who barely knew me (at the time). I had always been fearful of walking to the front of the church and making my "profession of faith," as is required by the Baptist Church to begin the process concluding with being dunked in front of the congregation. And it was during this time of my life that I first felt God working in me, moving through me, and I was compelled to do so. This was the year I was officially baptized at the age of 15. This was over 12 years ago, and I cherish these memories and am everso grateful for this time in my life.
But I still was more interested in joining a traditional church, though I hadn't found one here in Nashville that drew me in. And Jill kept talking about Crosspoint, singing the praises of the music and "Pastor Pete", which I thought sounded so silly... until I truly paid attention. And I'm so glad I did, because every time I attend this church, I feel like the message was written just for me. And being here in Nashville, a city filled to the brim with talented and passionate musicians, it is not your average church rock band up front. Nor are the AV effects cheesy. Every time I attend, I can feel God working through the people there. I feel Him in the music and I see Him on the stage in the videos and lights. I plan to become a member of the church soon.
The current sermon series is extremely poignant, centered on how to deal and trust God when life doesn't exactly turn out how you'd planned. As Queen Control Freak and Head Planner, you can imagine that this is a lesson much needed. He asks, "what would you do, how would you react/respond if you KNEW in every moment, during every crisis, through every heartbreak, that God were right there with you and was in control of the situation?" This thought has left me pondering for a while now. If you're interested and not here in Nashville, I highly recommend you listen to the podcasts or watch videos from the sermons (available on i-tunes). They are quite good at keeping this updated and I often listen to them as I exercise.
And Pete (Wilson) has also written a book on the subject, which I'm reading and thoroughly enjoying at the moment. I'm intrigued by this young pastor. He seems to have his whole life in place: he's funny and charismatic, looking more like a young youth minister that all the girls would have a crush on than lead pastor, with a beautiful wife and three adorable boys, and a growing church centered on a very successful ministry on his part. Yet he is humble, openly admitting his faults and his struggles with faith. This makes him even more real and believable as someone to preach the Word. Expect to hear much more on this subject later.
SO... after church, my sister and I went grocery shopping and then attempted (with the help of others) to cook a new pasta dish I had seen on the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond)'s blog earlier in the week and had craved since. (If you love to cook and have never read her blog or checked out her recipes, consider this your wakeup call.) We tried substituting meat from a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking raw chicken, which gave the dish a much too "chickenry" taste. But other than that, we were quite pleased!
Next, Charlsie and I dug into another project, this one from Darby Stickler's blog (another one that you should be ashamed to miss if you have any interest in cooking, faith, and looking at pictures of an adorable family). We attempted homemade strawberry fruit roll-ups... which were not quite a success. I tried to take pictures during the process, but Cha chastised me for trying to be like Ree and Darby, but with a much less fancy camera... which was correct... so there is no photo evidence of the roll-ups. We aren't sure what went wrong, maybe it was our gas oven with it's always-not-quite-right temperatures, but after 6 hours in the oven, one rack was seriously overcooked while one was getting there. But they're edible! And we had leftover strawberries with which we made my favorite delicacy: chocolate-covered strawberries!
Then we sat on the porch, enjoyed beautiful weather while drinking a beer or two, and laughed with our friends. It was a good day.