Tuesday, October 30, 2012

an apology and a challenge

Okay, so first an apology to those of you who actually look for me to post--I haven't written anything on here since the middle of the month.

Ouch.
So I guess that whole consistency thing went out the window there for a while, huh?
Sorry about that.

Now, since I haven't written on here in so long it makes perfect sense for me to ask you to do something, right?

...Well, we'll pretend like that's not a totally crazy assumption on my part and I'll give you a challenge, anyway :0)

So here's some backstory:
Nathan and I have been looking for a church home since we moved up to Toledo in July. We tried out a few places first, but hadn't really found a fit.

It was one thing trying out churches back when it was just the two of us. We could just find out what time the service started, walk in, and sit down. The biggest struggle would be trying not to sit in anybody's spot (you know what I mean...somehow it seems like we all end up with assigned seats at church...).

With kids, it's a totally different story. 
You have to get there early enough to figure out where the kids go during the service, 
then try and find said classroom, 
then pry a very shy toddler off your leg while convincing him that he'll have lots of fun with all these people he has never seen before (completely contradicting the "don't talk to strangers" lessons),
then get big sister to her class where she proceeds to act like she has never seen another child before in her life (for example, hiding in the corner and not speaking to anyone through the entire service)...
then you finally get to make your way into the sanctuary (or big church, as you explain it to the kids).

So, long story a bit shorter, we've started attending a church just down the road from us called Washington. We've been there for about 3 weeks now, and we're in the middle of what they call "Washington 101." It's a class for new people (well, maybe not "new people" as much as "people new to Washington" since most of us have been around for at least 25 years or more...okay, bad pun, I know) so we can get to know what Washington Church is all about.

That brings us to my challenge for you.
On Sunday, we were given a homework assignment for next week, the last class of Washington 101. They asked us to write out our personal belief statement.

I don't know about you, but I've never been asked to do that before. I've written out my testimony many times, but this is different.

Writing my testimony is one thing. It is based completely on what I have experienced, so when I've written out my testimony in the past it has never included any verses or anything like that.

Just to clarify, I'm not saying anything against writing out your testimony. In fact, I think it's a great thing to do because it really makes you think about what all God has done for you. That's just not my challenge for you...although, feel free to do that, too :0)

This belief statement, though, is making me think in a completely different way. Yes, I'm still looking at what God has done for me (there's a lot...part of which you can read about in the posts that start here). What makes it different, though, is the fact that I'm thinking about what I believe, what makes up the foundation of my faith, and searching out the verses that are the foundation of that foundation.
(Okay, so if anybody knows what that would really be called besides "foundation of the foundation," I would love to know!)

I've started working on it, but I've still got a bit to go before I'm finished. When I do, though, I'll post it. So far, it has been pretty neat to actually see on paper what I believe and why I believe it, followed up with chapter and verse.

Okay, so maybe that brings me to my challenge for you. Let's forget I said that about 6 paragraphs ago...have I mentioned I get a bit carried away with that whole writing thing? My challenge to you is to do the same thing. Take the time to write out what you believe, with the verses to back it up. It doesn't have to be long (although mine is kind of getting that way. People I've just met don't know what they're getting into when they ask me to write...). When you get it finished, come back and let me know what you think. I would love to hear about it!

To be fair, we were given some questions (which, in true Mandy fashion, I've since lost) so we had something to go by. I can't guarantee I remember all of them, but here's the biggest part of the list:
1. How do you see God?
2. How does God see you?
3. Who is Jesus Christ?
4. What has God done for you?
5. If everything else was stripped away, what is the core of what you believe?
6. What is God's purpose for your life?
7. What is God's purpose for the world?
8. What is the Gospel and what are we supposed to do with it?

Okay, so I never said they were easy questions...

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy