After resisting it for more than a year, we gave in and obeyed God's call to this ministry of visitation. We are privileged to worship God where He sends us each Sunday and this is where we try to provide a snapshot from a visitor's perspective.
Please leave a comment if you wish. If you'd like to contact us, Bob is at MarineForJesus@aol.com and Jan is at Jlynnchess@aol.com. Thank you!
Today we worshiped
at Christian Assembly Church, 6241 Tuscarawas Road, Industry, PA 15052,
724.643.8885, cafamily.net, Pastor Bill
whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened
with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
was a larger facility than I expected with a sizeable parking area. We were
welcomed at the door and then greeted in the narthex and directed toward the
noticed no directional signage. I thought it might be too loud for me with 15
people on stage, but the volume was bearable. The sanctuary is larger with lots
of decorations for Christmas, but no cross to be found.
think the sermon was part of a series on the love of God. The pastor’s passion
was evident and seemed to extend to the congregation. He quoted a great deal of
Scripture to reinforce his message but with his passion I was surprised the
sermon wasn’t shorter.
made me smile that I was greeted by a Marine in the parking lot on the way out.
we arrived earlier we would have wandered around looking at the elaborate decorations.
Several people greeted us warmly including a gentleman who turned out to be a
member of the staff, who introduced himself and pointed us toward the
entire facility was superbly maintained and strikingly decorated for the
Christmas season; signage was minimal though.
our seats toward the back we could see all four projection displays, two on the
front walls and displays on each side wall as well, which I’ve never seen
before but in this size sanctuary, it makes a lot of sense.
music seemed professional and the acoustics were excellent.
the course of praying for two families who had lost loved ones the pastor
referred to them as having encountered the storm of bereavement, which I
thought was a fitting description.
message was part two of the series “The Love of God” in which the pastor explored
the depth, breadth, width, and height of God’s love for the world and for each
individual in it.
prayer for this church: Father,
we pray this congregation continues to be receptive to the leading of the
pastor and that You continue to lead the leaders. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today we worshiped
at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church, 1840 Ardmore Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA
15221, 412.241.1647, www.fhpcpa.org, Rev.
Ben Black, Pastor.
thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise?
are those who act justly, who always do what is right.
me, Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save
them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in
the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.
have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did
not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.
rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through
saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed
waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived.
they believed his promises and sang his praise.
they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may
have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who
has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom
of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the
forgiveness of sins.
Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in
him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have
been created through him and for him.
church enjoys a stately wooden cross accented by the peaked ceiling, and the
colorful stained glass added drama.
words for the songs and most Scripture passages were projected on the rear wall
of the chancel. I appreciated seeing the words to the anthem: they were simple
and easy to follow and understand, but it added power to see them in print. The
solos were wonderful also.
were almost welcomed during the Passing of the Peace of Christ; the exception
was a vet who had occasion to land on Iwo Jima and distinctly appreciated Marines,
especially the 6,000+ who gave their lives for that rock on which to land.
sermon, “Thanksgiving in Advent,” dealt with giving thanks as we come to
celebrate Advent. The message was personal to me from God.
thanks to God come easy; He has blessed me overwhelmingly and I remember His
intercession in my life. However I still struggle with showing gratitude to
others for all the little everyday things in my life.
thank you looks beyond oneself, and you cannot be too thankful.
illustrate a point the pastor mentioned carrying two buckets of mud (mortar) on
a job. It brought back memories of a job of mine when none of the teenage help showed
up and two of us carried two buckets of concrete up two forty-foot ladders to
place multiple yards of concrete.
the young girl who sang the offertory, “It’s About the Cross.” She had a great
was served silently, and I noted the pastor was served by the elders. It was
especially powerful after watching “The Bible,” including the crucifixion.
with time to wander around gave us an opportunity to notice the ample signage: I
was especially delighted by the useful restroom signs that jutted into the
hallway. The facility is nicely decorated and well cared for. Coffee and treats
in the narthex was a hospitable gesture to guests and members alike.
had the feeling a few people would have liked to greet their visitors but all
in all, few did.
unique stained glass windows contain large images in bold colors and a large
empty wall on the rear of the chancel makes a convenient PowerPoint screen.
was a joy to participate in Communion, and I especially appreciated the
Invitation liturgy. I loved that the words put some emotion into it. And the
soft guitar music that was played while the elements were distributed added
message, “Thanksgiving in Advent,” stressed the importance of remembering what
God has done for us in the past and cultivating “a thankful approach to
Christmas and to life.” He declared that our perception and thinking will be
transformed if, instead of focusing on what we “need” or “deserve” we rejoice
over our abundant blessings. Also that “thank you can never be overused in a
relationship, including our relationship with God.”
believe remembering what God has done in the past feeds our faith in Him for
prayer for this church: Heavenly
Father, we pray for an awakening of thanksgiving in the hearts of all believers.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today we worshiped
at Christ Bible Church, 2721 Rochester Road, Cranberry Township, PA 16066,
Jimmy Caraway, Pastor-Teacher.
– Matthew 10:37-42 He
who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves
son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his
cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose
it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
were warmly welcomed right at the door and in the pew. A large wooden cross is
situated over a curtained area; the air currents occasionally move the curtain making
it appear to be an open window. The sanctuary was pleasant with great aisle
space and comfortable temperatures in spite of the 20 degrees outside.
appreciated the female vocalist who, although I couldn’t hear her well at
first, turned out to have a beautiful voice for leading the praise worship.
Also we were entertained by, presumably, her grandson.
pen started to skip badly during the sermon and my back-up pen was worse, but a
phrase I can mostly discern: “God doesn’t send you to where His word didn’t
lead you.” The sermon dealt with what Christ calls us to be and do and if we
are not willing to put Jesus first, we are not worthy of Him.
blessed to watch some beautiful children running around the sanctuary after the
service and to talk with some other veterans.
gentleman opened the door for us as we entered and welcomed us with a
handshake, a bulletin, and an introduction.
building is attractive with lots of glass in the entry area and a beautifully
decorated worship area. The signage was good, but was a little confusing
finding the men’s room as it looked like the arrow was pointing up the steps
but instead indicated a slightly different direction on the same floor.
downstairs pre-school area is colorfully and imaginatively decorated with
animals painted on the walls by someone with real talent.
were warmly greeted and engaged in conversation by most everyone sitting nearby.
worship area is beautiful with well-coordinated colors, the chairs are
comfortable and comfortably spaced.
to whoever is responsible for the timing of the words on the screen. It was
very well done.
appreciated the passion with which the untitled message was delivered. It focused
on what it means to be a true follower of Christ: obedience is required, along
with speaking up and continually dying to self. He acknowledged that a true
disciple will make enemies because peace with God means we are at war with
those who are opposed to Him. He declared that it is our ambitions, desires,
and pursuits that keep us from fully following Christ and stated that “taking
up our cross is a one-way trip.”
I misunderstood his statement that “There is no still, small voice,” but if I
did not misunderstand then I must disagree. According to 1 Kings 19:12, that is
exactly how God spoke to Elijah, not in the wind, not in the earthquake, and
not in the fire, but in a still, small voice. Personally I find that comforting.
prayer for this church: Heavenly
Father, we pray we all have the courage to truly put You first and live our
lives for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
were both recovering from recent illnesses so we stayed home and listened to a
message online. It was a great message that caused us both to think. It became
a rainy gray day with a lot of good reasons to stay home, but I still missed
being in corporate worship.
benefit of not worshiping at a particular church is that we can blog without risking
offending a church.
we are constant visitors we think we are easy to spot, but maybe we don’t stand
out as much as we think we do. Here are some tips on recognizing visitors:
churches have designated parking spaces for visitors – an easy visitor ID. Have
someone monitor who parks there.
will come in the “wrong” door, look at bulletin boards to see what is going on,
perhaps wander around the church or look through printed materials. We look at
things that members no longer notice: we admire the banners, stained glass, and
woodwork. You may find us looking for restrooms or the nursery
try to be unobtrusive but sometimes accidentally walk in on a Sunday School
class or a meeting. If you see someone you don’t recognize walking through an area where you do not usually see strangers, a visitor is probably lost. An offer to escort them to the
area they seek is a courtesy that speaks volumes about your church.
to illnesses we did not want to share, today we listened to a sermon online.
Although I always miss corporate worship on days like this, the upside is that
we get to hear a message from some time ago at a service we missed, and we
always get something from it.
I’m still thinking about what we watched on TV last night, as it affected me
deeply. Therefore I want to share my written devotion from this morning. I hope
you get a blessing from it.
November 17, 2013
Last week we had a coupon for
Family Christian Store so we bought the miniseries “The Bible;” and even as we
did we wondered when we would find time to watch it. But within the week Bob
had a bad cold and I had a cough, so we watched the first 3 hours last night.
It was great! And I was
reminded of the importance of reminders. Not only because I was being reminded
of Your greatness, Your omniscience, Your grace, mercy, power, and beauty, but
as I watched I saw these giants of the faith as they found themselves in
situations where they had no answers or solutions, and again and again they
reminded themselves and their people of how You had provided and guided in the
past: Moses in his confrontations with Pharaoh and again when they were up
against the Red Sea; Joshua at Jericho; Abraham prior to Sodom and Gomorrah and
at the near-sacrifice of Isaac; Samson at the scene of his demise. They all
reminded themselves and others of Your love, faithfulness, and power. Also of
their faith in Your goodness.
We need to do this. Too often
we fret and pray “Please don’t let this happen; please do this.” How often do
we speak like Abraham: “You are a good God… You have always provided… surely You
will provide now.”
We need to remember MORE,
remind ourselves and others of Your promises and constant faithfulness and
We need to speak well of You
instead of the faithless words we tend to use. No wonder our words have so
little power – there is so little faith behind them. The words of these
biblical giants carried weight and great things happened as a result because
their words and hearts were filled with faith in You.
Please continue to help us
remember when we lose sight of You Who You are and Whose we are. We belong to
the God Who created the universe, Who numbers the hairs of our heads, and Who
has good plans for us that cannot be thwarted. May we speak and act like it.
“So he did not do many miracles
there because they had no faith.” ~Matthew 13:58
prayer for the churches: Dear
Lord, We pray the churches recognize their visitors and welcome them as they
would You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.