“God’s family is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15b (GWT)
As many of you now know, I’m new to San Francisco. Not surprisingly, moving has meant uprooting my whole life – physically, mentally, and also spiritually. My entire rhythm has changed – from where I go to eat, where I can drive, exercise, find community, and most importantly, worship.
In Los Angeles, I’d gotten used to worshipping usually remotely (due to the demands of law school) with Oasis Church Los Angeles and in their connect groups. My experiences were WONDERFUL. I am missing Oasis LA and my group BIG time. I was introduced to bible study books by Holley Gerth (amazing)!
I was also attending a women’s bible study that one of my closest friends in LA had felt chosen to lead. It really helped me get into the Word.
And I would also listen to sermons online from my favorite pastor, Rick Warren (the author of The Purpose Driven Life), from Saddleback Church. In addition to being one of the reasons I became a Christian (for more, click here), I honestly credit Pastor Warren with helping to get me back and forth to my bar prep course sanely which consisted of a crazy hour or so drive in heavy LA traffic.
These varied components were my spiritual community. They were my spiritual foundation. And some of the key parts – the offline parts are now missing.
So, I’m searching. I’m on a mission to find a new church home. [And as you can probably tell from a couple of posts, I take things pretty seriously!] There are so many reasons to join a church (a post on this topic coming soon).
So, my plan is to attend at least 1 new church service every Sunday until I find one that feels right.
During Week 1 (July 29, 2012), I attended The Journey Church of San Francisco. I had checked out their web site when I was in Los Angeles and saw they gave away my favorite book, The Purpose Driven Life to San Francisco residents. I knew I had to check them out when I got to the city.
Upon entering the church, I immediately got a good vibe because I was actually greeted and welcomed by someone. She could probably tell that I looked a little lost. The church also has a great reception area complete with snacks and java!
The lead pastor, Chris Brady, had a series called “God on Film,” which was a theme to help discover the meaning behind the biggest movies of the summer. I attended the final sermon in the series based on the movie “Total Recall,” “Making Peace with My Past.” The sermon even included clips from the movie and another movie with The Rock (Dwayne Johnson – bonus!). The service had a great “hip” factor and as a former L.A. resident, I could definitely relate to the movie-Hollywood theme!
The sermon was about Forgiveness and achieving peace of mind (and peace with the past) by seeking God.
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
Pastor Brady laid out Four Steps to Making Peace with My Past:
Step #1: Receive Forgiveness. [God offers forgiveness for all that we’ve done.]
“God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.” 1 John 1:9.
We were asked to write down what we’re receiving forgiveness for.
Step #2: Offer Forgiveness (to others, those who have hurt us)
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13
Honestly, this was a bit more difficult to do but I did pray to offer forgiveness to a couple of people that I have not approached with a forgiving heart.
Step #3: Learn from My Past
Pastor Brady told us that we need to figure out what lesson do we need to learn. And if we don’t learn, we are destined to repeat the same mistakes.
“Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.” Proverbs 4:5
Step #4: Trust God with my Future
And to me, it usually always comes back to trusting God and having faith in God. And Pastor Brady closed with two of the best bible verses. In fact, I’ve been meditating on Jeremiah 29:11 for the past couple of weeks.
“For I know, the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And we were given the following Memory Verse:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Stay tuned for a post on church visit #2….
Wishing you hope, joy, and peace,