Best Day of the Year (Social Media wise)

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There are too many mornings my mood changes upon a Social Media peek. It’s really why so many of us have gotten off these outlets. They saw their moods changing based upon daily posts. Sometimes we don’t even know why our mood changed. Other times, it’s clear.

  • One friend wants to make sure you know his or her opinions on the political climate today.

  • You wake up to a Facebook friend tagging you on a pic where you’re eyes are closed or on an opinion you don’t necessarily agree with.

  • All your friends went somewhere last night. You never knew they were getting together. Now you do. Thank you Instagram.

  • You’re having a terrible morning and want everyone to know it but won’t give details. People are concerned and then you go off Social Media without answering their concerned questions

I now see why my mood changed.

I really feel we all need to be tested before going on these Social Media outlets, like an IQ test of sorts. Questions on the test like:

  1. Will your opinion really sway others?

  2. Is doing your laundry important for all your followers to know.

  3. How long is too long to be on Social Media in a day?

I’m not even sure I know the answers and if I should be on Social Media!

Here’s the great news. Something changed yesterday. School started! I know that’s bad news for many of the children and mixed feelings for parents. But it’s GREAT news for Social Media because we got to see all the pics of children’s first day of school and personally, I love it. It’s positive, it’s real life and it’s great to see kids growing up. It cheered me up right away and made me want to ‘LIKE’ everyone’s pics (although time wise I missed many). SO thank you for sharing those pics. I mean it. I love it and I feel many of you do as well.

Now back to our regularly scheduled rants.

Every Seat Has a Story

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Our new chairs arrive this week! In fact, we will be celebrating with a ‘chair party’ on Thursday. For those of you reading this who are not in ministry, a ‘chair party’ is a weekly event in church world (sometimes 2-3 times a week) that deals with moving chairs around in preparation for events or even Sunday service. A lot of fun….ok not really.

As we near the end of our NEXT Campaign (our building project) where so many of you have prayed for, given financially and helped physically with electrical, carpentry, painting, among many other things, we pause to think of all God has in store for these new seats.

As i shared on Sunday, huge decisions were made in these previous seats for so many who have attended here.

For me, I think of some of the bigger ones:

  • My wife Vicki accepts Christ in one of those chairs and because of that decision, she invites her mom Cindy who brought her husband Bob. Bob went on to influence so many here including countless teens before he passed away. Cindy has served here in so many capacities, group leader, greeter, administrative, and care team.

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  • My wife decides to sing for God. It’s one Sunday where Vicki fills out a Connection Card and checks off an interest in serving on our Worship Team. It’s her, along with the other talented vocalists and musicians, who lead the service off by drawing our attention on God through music. This ‘sets the table’ for us to clear our head and hear what God wants to tell us through the message.

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  • I decide to enter ministry. It was in one of those seats where I decide to leave 20 years of managing 4 health clubs to enter a new career. Entering the complete unknown with a lesser income and young children was crazy! God had to make things pretty obvious to me. I felt (and still feel) unqualified. I look back and see just who God is by putting me (of all people!) into ministry and I’m so thankful!

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My son and daughter say YES to Jesus It was in one of these seats where both Bennett and Sadie accepted Jesus into their hearts. It was also where they decided to go public with their faith and be baptized. It was in these seats where they ‘owned their faith’ and I am so thankful!

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My children invite others It was because of my children’s decisions they made in these seats with their faith that they decide to invite their friends from a summer camp, Samantha and Marissa. They, in turn, invite their mom and boyfriend, Becky and Fabio. Samantha and Marissa, along with being here every Sunday, attend our teen environment (Living Proof) each week and continue to grow in their faith. Becky and Samantha were baptized last year (see photo below). Becky serves every week here as a greeter. Fabio is on our worship team as a drummer. God is so good!

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Because of the previous generation’s generosity, my family and friends have been blessed with a church full of seats that are full of potential, full of future vital decisions and full of incredible stories. I can’t wait to hear the stories one day of all these seats we will be adding here on Thursday. Won’t you join us in being a part of this story by purchasing seats today? Your purchased seat may in fact contain one of the greatest stories yet to be told.

Fellowship: It’s Not Just the Name of our Church

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GUEST BLOGGER: KRISTIN SARNO

Look at the person next to you and give them an awkward smile,” says Pastor Stephen Furtick as he first comes onto the Elevation stage.  I spend a lot of time watching and listening to YouTube sermons where the pastors say funny things like this.  I believe there’s more to it than just trying to get a laugh from the audience, though.  How many times have you walked to your seat, sat down, and started scrolling through your phone without making eye contact to the people around you?  

There are about 1600 seats at Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Here, at Fellowship Church we have 300 seats.  It’s not nearly as many eyes we can chose to avoid, but still it seems intimidating to someone who may be experiencing their first time at our church. 

 I think back to when I first became Christian.  I was introduced to the Bible by a friend at work, and dove right into it.  I started looking into local churches with excitement to find other people like me, filled with love for Christ.  

The first Christian church I entered, not one person said hi to me, but I promise you that they knew I had arrived.  The other church goers glanced in my direction with what I took as judgmental stares.  I instantly questioned everything that brought me there.  What was I thinking?  I wasn’t ready for church.  I didn’t know enough about the Bible.  Was I even dressed appropriately?  When service was over, I put my head down, and hastily walked to the door to leave.

In reality, I’m almost positive that those glances were simply people noticing me as a newcomer.  We’ve all been there when we see someone new at church.  They more than likely had a feeling inside of them that was pushing them to speak with me and welcome me to their church.  Unfortunately, their own insecurities overcame them just as mine had overcome me.  Maybe if I had given them an awkward smile it would have been different.  Maybe if they had given me an awkward smile it would have been different.

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 After a year of attending several churches, misreading far too many glances, and struggling to find a church family, I gave up.  Soon, I was led astray by unbelievers.  I found myself slowly wandering in a path of darkness and self-destruction.  The devil is creative like this.  He makes his move a little at a time.  Before I had even realized it, I began to rapidly fail in life.  To turn my back on Christ after knowing a life filled with His never-failing love is something I never want to experience again.  

Several years later, I turned my life back over to Christ.  This time was different, though.  This time I made a family.  I was blessed to find my future husband, and be introduced to Fellowship Church.  Still, I remembered we aren’t all lucky enough to walk into church for the first time, and walk out having felt like we found a new home.  I wonder often about where I could be now in my walk if God hadn’t led me to a welcoming church like Fellowship.

I’ve made a priority of serving mostly at the coffee bar. That’s not just because I love anything that has to do with a kitchen.  I also love the thought that at any moment the person who I am handing a cup of coffee to could be the same person who needs a friendly smile.  It could be that person’s first time at our church, and I want to let them know they aren’t alone.  When the coffee bar closes, I walk to my seat.  I look around me at the sea of faces, and I find that one I don’t know.  I still briefly hesitate by my own insecurities, but I no longer avoid that feeling inside of me that pushes me towards this new face.  “Hello,” I say, “it’s a great Sunday for church, isn’t it?”  This alone, can change someone’s life.  This alone can fill another one of our seats.