17 October 2007

A few notes of praise

First, a brief update on the wounded limb: I am still in the temporary cast that Salem Hospital Urgent Care put on. I finally got an appointment with an orthopedic doctor for Friday morning, a full 4 weeks after the original break. Hopefully, the fracture has re-attached and is healing, but I have my doubts. I can still feel a little popping around the joint when I move it a certain way. The bruising on the calf was caused by the edge of the temporary cast. I readjusted it, and it subsided some. I really need to progress to the point where I can put some weight on this leg. The quad muscles have developed an alarming case of atrophy and need to be stretched and strengthened. The range of motion in the knee is still very limited and also needs to be rehabbed. With a walking cast, I could at least begin to get some exercise on it.

Praise the Lord, it looks like we have finally sold our house in Arlington!! A couple moving from out of state offered us full price and quick closing, subject to a few contingencies (read $$). Commissions, repairs, and closing costs (ours and theirs) just about ate all the profit out of it, but we will be able to break even, which was our bottom line goal. Mostly it means no more double house notes, thank God!! Closing is scheduled for Thursday the 18th; we signed our closing papers today. We still have a few minor repairs to have finished by then. Pray that nothing goes wrong, and for the new family moving into the area. We had good neighbors, hopefully they will be too.

We have also, we believe, finally found a church to attend up here. We have had a very difficult time finding a church home. The culture is decidedly unchurched. Back home (and I'm just guessing at percentages here), probably 75% or more at least go to church, though that counts all sorts of "churches" and a pretty casual level of commitment. Up here, it's probably the reverse: 75% or more don't go anywhere at all. The remaining 25% are scattered amongst all denominations, orthodox and otherwise. Churches, where they exist at all, are mainly small ones.

Here in Salem, there are three or four "large" churches. We did not set out specifically to find a LARGE church, but in order to have a specific ministry geared towards special needs children like our son Timothy, it generally takes a fairly large church to have enough special needs kids to warrant a special needs ministry. We tentatively contacted one or two of the larger churches. They basically said, "well, we don't know, but we'll see what we can do if you'd like to visit us."

Ask anyone who knows me, I’m a conservative Baptist. Not a legalistic Baptist, but conservative. Too many churches nowadays strike me as one of those "come as you are, leave as you came" places. You know the type: "God loves you and that's enough, don't worry about your behavior, God doesn't judge people and neither do we." True enough, God isn’t just waiting in heaven to smash people that get the least bit out of line, but He is also a loving, correcting parent, who expects His children to obey Him, for their own good as well as His glory. I'm FAR from a legalist, but I know enough to know that God does care very much about our lifestyle! The Bible is far more than a list of rules and regulations, but there are some dos and don’ts. When God says "Don't," He means "Don't." And after all, God has the right to make the rules. When you create a universe, you have the right to establish the rules by which it operates. When you make your own universe, you will have the right to rule it. I personally have not managed to create a universe myself. Heck, I can’t even finish that 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle I have in my closet!

Anyway, we were striking out in our hunt, beginning to wonder if we'd even find a church at all. Knowing that God was not caught off guard when we moved up here, but wondering if we'd done the right thing (or I was, anyway). Then the parent of a child in Timothy's and Elizabeth's school mentions to [my now-ex-wife] that his church has a special needs ministry. He'd seen a promotional video in their services just a week or two earlier. It's called Morning Star Community Church. I sent the church an email through their website asking for information. Within two hours, the Children's Director and the Special Needs director both replied saying yes, they have a place for him and would love to have us. We attended a couple of Sundays, were warmly welcomed, and the class for Tim is EXACTLY what we were looking for! Elizabeth loves the middle school program on Sunday and Thursday nights, and even William talks about wanting to go back to church during the week! I know that simply making people feel "wanted" isn't a good test of theology, but it's better than making them feel like you don't care whether they come or not.

So I did a little checking on them and found that they are a Calvary Chapel fellowship. I'd listened to Chuck Smith on Calvary Chapel's radio program many years ago when WCRV AM640 back in Memphis used to carry his program and liked him very much. But that was a long time ago, so I searched on Wikipedia and found their doctrinal beliefs. I found them to be theologically very similar to my own beliefs. Being a Southern Baptist, I'm a bit more congregationalist in my beliefs on church government, while they follow a more Episcopal style. They are perhaps a bit more charismatic than I am, but not too much so. Certainly within the pale of orthodoxy. I won’t go into the whole huge debate of Calvinism versus Arminianism here, but if you’re curious, email me.

In any event, I think these folks are more orthodox in their theology that many of the other places we are likely to end up. We certainly won't find a Bellevue Baptist Church up here. To be sure, there are small pockets of orthodoxy up here, but they are definitely the exception rather than the rule. Liberalism rules, in the big cities, at least, though the less urban areas are suprisingly conservative (although no one recognizes my Mike Huckabee bumper sticker). Who knows, maybe I can be the one to bring a little more orthodoxy to the area, I've certainly never been afraid to debate a position I feel strongly about! Hopefully, what we have found at least is a place where we can worship God, fellowship with others, make some friends, serve God with the talents and bents He has given each of us, and have our kids make some friends in a safe, nurturing environment, all without sacrificing the essential non-negotiables of our faith: That all men need a Savior, and that Savior is found nowhere other than the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, bestowed by God’s Sovereign Grace alone, through Faith alone (Acts 4:12). As long as we can meet at the foot of the cross, or better yet, at the mouth of the empty tomb, we can debate the other stuff!


Wanda-Lou said...

I am so pleased that everything is falling into place for you and your family. Prayers are a very powerful thing. Your friends will keep them coming!

pcsenn said...

Praise the Lord for His bountiful blessings. I have been, and will be, continuing to remember you and yours in my prayers. I am grateful for the closing of your home (?) and the finding a new church to attend.