This has been our wonderful church home for almost the past 4 years - Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, AL. We have made lifelong friends here and grown in our walk with the Lord. They have truly been our family during these years that we are far away from our family. That is why Sunday was such a tough day for us. It was the day that we had to tell a group of people that have supported us for all these years that we were leaving. It was a difficult decision that we have been struggling with for about a year and a half. We have been praying about it and until this point we did not feel like we were supposed to leave. However, in the past few weeks it has become very clear to us that God wants us to be a member of another faith family here in Birmingham . . . .
this is the Church at Brook Hills. We have been visiting occasionally for the past year and a half or so at their Sunday evening service. We have decided that this is going to be our new church home. Often Rhett and I have thought and said - is there anyone else out there that feels the way we do about things? And the answer is a resounding yes! - his name is Dr. David Platt. Some of our friends from UGA may know David and his wife Heather because they are our age! It's not everyday that a huge church like this elects a (then) 28 year old pastor. There is a simple reason for that - David is special. He is a gifted speaker, rock solid in theology and biblical knowledge and has a huge heart for the nations.
I feel awkward saying that David has a huge heart for the nations or the Brook Hills is a mission focused church because although those things are true it is more accurately described as God having a huge heart for the nations and God being a mission focused God. At Brook Hills we are reminded of this important fact constantly. The mission of this church is not bringing people in but sending people out. David says it so eloquently and I can't come close but it is something like this- the Old Testament church is one of worshiping in a certain physical place (the idea of going to the temple to worship) but in the the New Testament church we are in Christ and Christ is in us and guess what - that makes US the temple! We are supposed to GO out and show Christ to the world all the time not just retreat to a church building once a week to worship. Our lives are worship. It seems as though a lot of church culture in the U.S. is practicing Old Testament worship in a New Testament world.
Anyway, we were at a service a few weeks ago at Brook Hills and a young college guy was being Baptized. At Brook Hills you film a short video of your story of how you became a Christian that they play before you are Baptized. The idea being that your act of Baptism is telling everyone that you are a Believer and a follower of Christ. We were singing a song and the music just kind of died back a little bit and the video started after which this guy was Baptized surrounded by his friends and family. Then the amazing part . . . everyone cheered. Not a golf clap while you read the program or search for a piece of gum. Everyone genuinely celebrated the decision this guy had made. The the music cranked up again and everyone continued singing and worshiping. It was beautiful. It was after that service Rhett and I both had the overwhelming feeling that we want to be a part of what God is doing in that body of believers at Brook Hills.
On paper it doesn't really make sense - we are only going to be living here for another 13 months and 3 of those months we are going to be living in Peru. We had a wonderful support system at our other church. We were plugged in and active in a lot of different ways. It would make much more sense that we just stay put. The fact that it doesn't make sense and yet we both overwhelmingly know it is what we have to do is just confirmation that God is working in this. When we move our family overseas next summer we want Brook Hills to send us. Like I said, their whole thing is sending people out. We are showing up saying "Here we are, send us!".
We went to Brook Hills on Sunday night after our emotional day at Hunter Street and the confirmation that God gave us was undeniable. We were so thankful for that because like any big change in your life it is easy to second guess yourself. We love our friends at Hunter Street and want them to know that. Thanks for loving us and supporting us through 4 years of residency and 2 babies - that's a heck of a lot. We are excited about what God is doing through the Church at Brook Hills and we can't wait to see how he uses it to prepare us for this next huge step we are about to take.
There I did it! I blogged about religion - what is next politics? Like Laura said this blogging thing is all about what I think so there you go - that is what I think!