Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Church in the City

Our first Sunday in Houston. There are several churches we want to visit;  we started off at Houston's First Baptist Church. It was a good start.

We had several 'firsts' as a result of visiting a new, and very large, church. We parked in Guest Parking, visited the Welcome Center (I recommend this, by the way), and had to pick new seats! We didn't have our little 'section' like we do at home with our students.

Then, the music started. And the Lord was in the house. A very cool praise band led us in "How Great Thou Art" and "Forever Reign" among other songs, but man. Let me just tell you, Spouse attempted to clap. Thankfully, not for long. :)

Our pastor at home had encouraged us to attend this church, telling us that Gregg Matte was a great preacher and teacher. Good call, Michael Lewis!

Teaching from John 18:1-11, the thesis of the message was "Jesus is in control". If you read the passage (I hope you will), it may seem that this was a time when Jesus was not in control, he SO was. And is. Here Jesus was, in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that Judas had betrayed him, was not at all hiding from the men looking for him. Instead, he volunteered. Verse 4 says, "Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him., came forward and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' Then, he told them who he was. "I am He", he said. He did not hide from trouble. He knew it was coming, and he knew who was in control.

A few noteworthy points from the passage:

--The Living Water walked through the dry gulch of the Kidron Valley to get to the Garden.
--Why did Jesus surrender Himself in a garden? Could it be because man blew it in the Garden?
--The garden was re-entered at conquered on our behalf.
--The soldiers who came to capture the Light of the World were carrying artificial light (torches, lanterns). When we walk in sin, we have to develop artificial light, i.e. 'at least I'm not _____', 'everyone else is doing it', 'I'm not hurting anyone'. You get the idea.
--Jesus Christ 'lived the life you couldn't, to die the death you should've'.

We still want to visit other churches while we are here, but it's going to be tough, now! Gregg Matte's preaching was expository and spot on. He was engaging, funny, and relevant. He was casually dressed, he told a few funny little stories for illustrations and he used a MacBook from the pulpit.

Can I get an AMEN!?

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