Occassionally I take a Sunday and visit other churches. I find it to be a very good thing for me, and for FCC. They get to hear from Matt which is always a good thing. And it allows me to sit and listen, observe and report to staff about the things I see. It also helps me refuel.
I went to two churches....The Church at Battle Creek and First Baptist Church in Downtown Tulsa.
BC is a fast growing church with a very young demographic. They have all the "crowd" control procedures in place including parking, very visible and helpful greeters and a pretty easy to get around facility. The service itself was about 90 minutes long, with the preaching lasting about 50 minutes ( pretty standard). Alex Himaya is a strong teacher and I have to say it was one of the best sermons on Matthew 25 ( Parable of the Talents) I have heard. Chocked full of a vision to use our abilities and gifts to help people who have difficulty , this message was very missional in content. I was ready to sign up to help some people.
He made a statement that I thought was very significant for us. "We have to accept the responsibility for the city that God has given us." I just look around and see that we can grow and do a better job of being an advocate for people of all walks of life in our city. God placed us here and we have that responsibility. Good stuff.
I am always interested in the Worship services...and while it was good stuff...my appreciation for what we have at FCC grows greater every time I go some where else.
Then, I hustled up to First Baptist in downtown. Deron Spoo is a friend of mine... and the church he leads is such a different church than Battle Creek. But I love how he preaches to the Southern Baptist church in a way that challenges their suppostions and preconvieved notions and does it in a thoughtful way. It might be tempting to blow up a downtown church like that...but Deron is a teaching shepherd and it comes through loud and clear.
He message on listening to God was especially timely to me. Elijah found himself on the run and went into a cave, where he did nothing until he heard from God. Nothing... It made me ask, "Where is my cave? Where do I wait and then wait some more.? Have I substituted activity and movement for doing what Elijah did... just wait? Do I wait for the still small voice, or do I jump at the first hint of activity and noise?" The truth is that I am much better at what God wants me to be when I wait for his still voice...instead of always belieiving that he is in the wind and fire and earthquakes. ( Read I Kings 19).
It was thought provoking and humbled my spirit... which I needed.
Deron also led a meaningful communion service. I appreciated that so much. He made a statement that caught my attention..."Many of us are committed, but not really surrendered." Wow... I thought committment was the goal...But it made me think... Committment is good, but it tends to allow other things to crowd it out. We can be committed to several things.. Surrender means totally sold out... everything hinges off that surrender.
There is a ton of application for us...but as I read the life of Jesus I see one that was surrendered, not just committed. That is what pushed him through the cross. "Father, not my will, but yours." That is not committment...that is surrender.
FBC Tulsa has two services...one being contemporary and one more traditional. I attended the traditional... So meaningful in worship with the choir, orchestra, flute solo,and quiet and reflective songs. I loved it.
But I love all kinds of worship...and am thankful for the diversity of the Body of Christ. There is alot of a great work being done by churches in Tulsa. It is exciting.
Good day for me...and for FCC