This evening, I had the privilege of going to a big gathering of several churches at the Del City church of Christ. The other towns represented were Choctaw, East Side Midwest City, and Ridgecrest. I actually graduated from Choctaw high school, and I saw some people I went to high school with there and was able to visit with them. I have visited the church in Midwest City, so I knew some of the people from there too. I knew people from all the churches except the Ridgecrest church. I even had a cousin there. All of these churches are big churches, and it was great to get them all together in one place.
They began with singing, but I didn’t know the first man to lead the prayers, so it was probably someone from Ridgecrest. He led two songs, and then a man I had talked to from Midwest City got up and led two songs, and then one from Choctaw I have also talked to got up and led two songs. There were several people reading scriptures and leading prayers, and eventually, we had speaker from Oklahoma Christian University, and then a man from the Del City church got up and led a couple of songs. Everything that was done was encouraging. You will be reading some of the songs on my song blog. I sat with my cousin and his girlfriend. I was surprised because I know songs they didn’t know, but I haven’t been in the States much, and they have been here their whole adult lives attending church all the time.
The preacher had a very interesting lesson. He began by telling about a news story that he had read and many in the big group had read too, but it happened when I was out of the country, so it was a new story to me. There was a girl. I think he said her name was Kathy Hornsby. She was a very good runner. She ran competitive races. She was on her way up to national competition she was so good. She was running in a race that if she won it, she would go on to national competition. She was running in forth place and doing well. However, all of a sudden, she veered off the track and ran to the fence. She climbed the fence. She ran across a park toward a hospital, and there was a bridge with a river below it. She jumped off the bridge. However, she didn’t hit the water which was her plan. She hit the bank beside the river and miraculously survived. She was pretty mangled up and will be in a wheel chair the rest of her life. No one knew why did it.
After that, he read a scripture with us and explained the scripture. The scripture was 1 John 3:1-3: “How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is because it did not know him. Dear friends, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.”
He explained that Kathy Hornsby had a hope that she gave up. Maybe it was just too much pressure. Maybe someone had forced her into doing it, but she really didn’t want to do it. Maybe it was some other reason, but she gave up when she had so much promise. He urged us not to give up, but to follow God until the ends of our lives because there is a great reward. He said it gets hard for everyone sometimes, but don’t break.
He then told a story about an old woman who had never really had a good vacation. She has worked hard all her life. However, when she retired, she decided she wanted a very lavish vacation. She took all her life savings and made reservations in the fanciest hotel she could find. She was going to stay in a fancy room for several days. She packed her bag and drove to the hotel. The man took her suitcase and they went to the elevator to take her to the room. She got in the room, and the room was really small, without even a window. She was really disappointed! She wondered if she could get her money back. She said to the man, “This room just isn’t what I thought it would be at all. Can I get my money back?” The man laughed and said, “Don’t give up now. This is just the elevator. I am taking you to the penthouse suite, the most luxurious room in the hotel1” She didn’t give up. She hadn’t known that she hadn’t arrived yet. When she got to the room, it was more wonderful than she could ever imagine.
The speaker asked us not to give up like Kathy Hornsby had. He told us that God loved us, and even if we think we have done things we shouldn’t, don’t turn back, but turn toward God and keep trying. He told us we are on our way up. The verses said, “God has lavished his love on us.” They also said we are pure because of his purity. He encouraged everyone to just keep trying and make it to Heaven. It was a good lesson and an encouraging lesson. I have personally seen people who just took off running because it got too hard on them, and I know it can happen to any of us, but I am glad I never gave up. Just because we become a Christian doesn’t mean that things are automatically going to get better in our lives. It takes time. We have to go up the elevator, and then to the next elevator. We haven’t reached Heaven yet. We don’t need to give up, but know we are going to go to a place that is so wonderful we can’t even imagine it.
After the sermon, the man from Del City led two songs, we had a prayer, and the meeting was dismissed, but not over. Everyone headed for the coffee shop for cookies and coffee or tea. everyone stayed around greeting one another. I saw several people I have met since I came here, and stopped to talk to the ones I could catch. It was a nice evening. I enjoyed the songs. I enjoyed the sermon, and I enjoyed visiting with people I haven’t seen for a while.