14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. 15 They know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I give my life for the sheep.
16 “I have other sheep that do not belong to this sheep pen. I must bring them in too. They also will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “The reason my Father loves me is that I give up my life. But I will take it back again. 18 No one takes it from me. I give it up myself. I have the authority to give it up. And I have the authority to take it back again. I received this command from my Father.”
John 10:14-18 NIRV
"One more thing going wrong..." I didn't mean to say that out loud, but I did. We were picking up the rental car...then had to load up at home & take off. As usual we were running late. No matter how perfectly we plan our lives....sometimes God has another plan. I've learned that I just need to keep my focus on Him & I wont get lost....or be late. God usually has a great reason for allowing this delay...most of the time we don't know what it is. This time on our way to Abilene, Texas from San Tan Valley, Arizona, I believe God showed me. We came across a pretty bad accident. "Thank you Father" I prayed & then began to lift those involved & their families in prayer. The feeling of gratefulness completely fills me. It's His time, not mine.
We arrive in Abilene, find our way to "Fountaingate Fellowship" & the open arms of C-2....boy I'm glad to see her!!! She takes us in & introduces us to our coaches...a beautifully dressed, blonde woman walks up to me....her smile, it's the first thing I notice. It's filled with light, it's honest, it's beautiful. Her name is....K...for privacy I'll just shorten it to that. "welcome, I am so glad you made it!!!" I've been late to places before, the people who are waiting usually will say this...only behind their plastic smiles they are upset & pretending not to be. K is being real, no plastic smile here...her heart tells me that she truly means it!!! Away we walk, leaving my guys in the lobby with C-2...
K opens the doors & there is a man speaking onstage. I look around & see Special K & near her is Sweet M. After scanning the crowd a little more I recognize Special S & Sweet D....then spot my handsome hubby. I lift up a quick prayer to my Father..."Daddy please let this entire weekend retreat be the encounter I've been desiring...to bring me closer to You!!! Help me to see your hand in every part of my weekend...thank You Daddy for providing this encounter retreat & the ability to get here!!" The evening was almost over, so we listened to them finish up. Then met in the lobby again. Where C-2 & C-1 introduce us to their sweet hubby's, who also have the same first names, so I will call them D-1 & D-2. Immediately I'm struck by the reality that I'm standing in Fountaingate Fellowship, in Abilene, Texas. I'm finally meeting the hubby's I heard so much about & I realize my Daddy once again blessed our faithful obedience...He is amazing, ALWAYS.
The alarm the next morning seemed to go off just as I closed my eyes...but I was ready for ALL my Daddy had for me. I shut the alarm off, head down stairs to the bathroom. C-2 was the only one up that I saw. She opens her bathroom door & says "come on in" I accept the invite & begin catching up, thanking her for her hospitality & ask about the EGR schedule for that day. She's attended several EGR's & we chat it up. Then get ready & head out to the church....this is it. I can feel it, I'm going to encounter God as I never have before....I'm soooo ready!!!
We walk in & see Little J....she's been blessed with a heart to serve with the kids. I introduce Jr. to her & she shows us where he'll be encountering God...I sign him in & walk back to the lobby. I see Sweet Hubby chatting with C-2 & her wonderful hubby D-2. I then spot K & head into the sanctuary with her where we sit down. I don't see our other friends from AZ?? I know they'll make it so I just spend some time quiet with my Daddy before the amazing day begins.
When I was first learning to walk with Christ, as a Christian, I learned that the church is NOT the building, we are the church. We are the body of Christ, therefore we are His church...the building is where we meet to have fellowship. So, since I learned that, I have never thought about going to another building as being bad. After all doesn't Christ say we are His body. He doesn't specify which building, or congregation's are His body. He says if we believe, give our life to Him & love one another, we are His body...not if we go to "this congregation" or "that congregation" we will be the church. I don't know why this paragraph just came out of nowhere. But it does explain the Scripture God chose to start this post off with.
I attended the same church I found what really being a Christian is, the Pastor married Sweet Hubby & I, he also baptized me...we dedicated our Jr. there & Sweet Hubby baptized Jr. there, our Little Princess was dedicated there & we considered it our home church. So, according to what the world says, I guess I should've felt as though I was cheating on them. But my heart is for my Daddy, not which building I'm worshipping Him in. So I had NO fear that I shouldn't be here. I knew God brought us all this way to meet us here...at Fountaingate in Abilene, Texas....this congregation who loved like my Daddy calls me to. They truly love God & others, they put others needs in front of their needs....they live for Christ & choose to let Him shine through instead of them shining themselves & their gifts. I could feel the REAL LOVE, the same kind of REAL LOVE I found when I leapt off the cliff of faith a few months before in Florida with the sweet sisters that had invited me to this EGR....the kind of love my heart desires to walk in ALWAYS....so it begins, me learning how to let Christ shine through, let go of the selfish "me, I, we" & hold onto the "He, His, Him" that will let others see Him instead of me...