NEW DAYS OF A NEW LIFE
In 1978, shortly after I had tasted the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, we left the traditional church of my youth and ventured (a bit gingerly, even a little bit scared) into a different kind of a church for us.
My brother-in-law and sister had urged us to come and try this “fellowship” that met in a building in Casa View in Dallas.
Not a church building, just some business building.
Chairs were set up, a makeshift stage in the front.
Seriously, I didn’t know what to expect.
I had heard that there were some “ who spoke in tongues “.
That also made me uneasy.
But, I didn’t even know what that meant.
All this stuff was new and foreign to me.
People were friendly, as Elaine and Johnny introduced us to their friends.
They had been asking us to come for a while.
Fear of the unknown kept me from giving in.
I knew I was in a different life now, since the day I was born again, but I figured I could stay where I was, and just live the new life.
The Saturday before this first trip to this new fellowship, Johnny had invited me to play football at Central Park with some of his friends.
I loved pickup football games, and I said I would go.
We chose teams and started to play.
No arguments, no bad sportsmanship, just a fun competition.
The quarterback on the other team really impressed me.
His skills were amazing; perfect spirals, long distance, into the hands of his receivers.
But his demeanor was so peaceful. His speech was so calm, so quiet.
He enjoyed the play, but it was only a game to him.
I asked Johnny after the game who he was.
“His name is Bob, “ Johnny answered, “he’s the preacher at our church.”
I talked to Bob a little bit afterward, and his humble gentle spirit impressed me so much.
I told Wendy when I got home, I was ready to try that church.
So, here we were, strange surroundings amid people we didn’t know.
The music began.
Three people onstage, a husband and wife, William and Aurelia Drake, and another man, Gary Warner.
Aurelia played the piano, and sang, William played the guitar, and sang, and Gary, well, he just sang. And he could sing!
The songs were pulled straight from the scriptures, with music added by the Drakes, and they were delivered with a joy I had never seen in a church service before.
There were joyful hand clapping dancing songs, with some people lifting their hands in praise, their eyes closed, sometimes flowing with tears of love.
There were songs of worship, slower, more deliberate, sung to the One, they were worshipping.
Did you hear that?
They weren’t singing about Jesus.
They were singing to him.
As if he were there.
We all closed our eyes, but we were listening to the words.
The guy praying was talking directly to God.
As if he knew Him!
“I wish I could pray like that,” I thought.
Then Bob stood, prayed again.
Just like he was talking directly to God.
And he preached from the book that he loved, and explained it in such a way that it spoke to this young new believer in such a way that made me want to discover it for myself.
And, you want to know what was even more amazing to me?
After church was over, people didn’t leave.
We stood around, in small groups, unplanned, unprogrammed, and, even though we had only just met these people, we shared a love, new for me, not as new for them, of a One who had captured us by His love, and had started us on a brand new path of Life.
And the joy I felt as I walked from that place was something I had never felt before.
And it began that day with songs of joy, sung with joy, to the One who came to make our joy complete.
I really miss that kind of worship.
Psalm 40:3 (ESV)
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.