Get The Shopping Cart With The Wobbly Wheels!

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Photo by Kai Oberhäuser

A little more than a year ago, I relocated to North Carolina. My thoughts went back to hurricane Florence that had everyone’s attention in August – September 2018.

All it did was rain during the hurricane that was to devastate North Carolina. Unfortunately, more than 45 people died and yes, there was flooding. Charlotte experienced some wind, but plenty of rain. The local news reports about the hurricane seemed to be sensationalized because Charlotte had a good day compared to the coastal cities east of us.

While watchning the news, the news reporter focused our attention on a car where the water came up to the center of the tire, it was a small car, possibly parked there by the circus, because the vehicle was SMALL! I Almost mistook it for a clown car! The water “covered the tire” (in standing water, no wind) stated the reporter! What about that poor adolescent tree, no bigger than a sapling that now (thanks to the reporter) is a LARGE Downed Tree, laying in the street!

Wow, I bet the ratings for that news channel are off the chart!

It appears that hurricane (now tropical storm) Florence lost its wind after it arrives on the coast. Pictures of much of the destruction shown on TV were far east of Charlotte, and the places where many had to evacuate was safe enough for the news reporters.

The calm before the storm was a bit eerie. The sun was shining, and it was hushed outside. I had to take a look to make sure I wasn’t the only resident still parked in the parking lot.

I think if I have to evacuate, I will head over to Bojangles stadium when they are staging all of those utility vehicles from the power companies.

If it is safe enough for those vehicles to stage at the stadium three miles away, perhaps it’s safe for me. My family and some friends called me and asked me: “did you evacuate!” I live south of downtown Charlotte, closer to South Carolina and enough distance from where Florence came ashore.

What now? The calm after the storm is beginning to bore me. The news still reports that we are to shelter in place and I’m ready to venture out. The storm is passing over North Carolina at a pace of two miles per hour! Man, I can walk faster than the wind is blowing!

I thought about going to the local Walmart for some entertainment, not for a movie or a book. I can watch a good video on TV since I have power, but I’m sure the local WalMart will have plenty of impromptu performances by the many shoppers who seem to be auditioning for a role of some sorts. It can be quite entertaining, and since Florence (now a tropical storm who puckered out after landfall) is moving so slow, the store won’t be closing anytime soon.

If you decide to venture outside during or after the next tropical storm and you find yourself in your favorite store, take your time like hurricane Florence did as it puckered out shortly after landfall. When you get to your favorite WalMart, take your time, enjoy the entertainment, get the shopping cart with the wobbly wheels!

Going Against The Grain

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The Church Or Just Another Empty Building?

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Picture bu: Alex Andrews – Pexels

While running a few errands today, I went past a familiar spot of town and noticed a church that used to be in a particular spot.  The building was present, the marquee was there, but it was blank; evidence the build was once used by church members.  Seeing the church building vacated like that, reminded me of the many of vacated homes throughout many counties in Georgia.  Homes once inhabited, now vacant, and a reminder of bad economic times.

When I lived in Atlanta, Georgia you could find many streets with foreclosed homes, but there were three or four houses where someone lived. It’s sad to see a place that someone once called home, abandoned and empty.  The site of a foreclosed, abandoned and vacant church building may be the result of tough economic times, but there is nothing significantly different between a house once inhabited, and a church building once occupied.

The Difference between the two

It’s interesting how people relate a church building to a place where God resides, and the building is held in such reverence and esteem because it is said to be Gods House and His presence resides there.  How disappointing for the creator of all things to be confined to a small space until next Sunday. The fact that people make up the church, is a reality difficult for some to accept.

The building is not the church, the people are the church. The church is never abandoned, foreclosed on, and it certainly cannot burn down. Like homes, the church building can be seized by the bank, burned by fire and damaged by flood waters.

Locked in, until Bible study

I’m glad God dwells not in a place of brick and mortar. If He occupied buildings (and not the heart of man) God would be left all alone, locked up, in that building, waiting for the members to show up (casually late) for the next service. I can remember hearing a deacon say, ” Man, I couldn’t wait to get here to the church, to hear a word from God!”

Photo by Fancycrave.com from Pexels

The things we often say, reveal how we live during the week. While, I’m sure no one believes that God resides in the building we call the church, but you would think we succeeded in locking Him in there after worship services and, He won’t dare peek outside or venture into the parking lot! Oh my, the things He would see!

God doesn’t live in a building with an address. A building called “the church,” is not Gods house (it never was), it’s a place where the people of God meet in fellowship. When that great day shall arrive, when Jesus Christ shall return for His Bride (the Church) He’s not coming back for, or to a foreclosed, abandoned building, but for a people ( the ecclesia ); a people not having spot, wrinkle or any such thing. ( Ephesians 5:27 )

That is the Church!

Going Against The Grain

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Church Visitors

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Why Should They Come to Your Church?

Looking for a place of worship can be as stressful as your first day on a new job. Of course, it shouldn’t be, but it is and that’s the reality for many. We are living in different times, the church building ( of the place of worship ) has evolved over many years! Its simply not what it use to be and I’m sure many today are not aware of how it used to be.

Fear of the unknown; Imaging that, fear of what you may or may not encounter in a new church. Gone are the days of ministry teams knocking on doors and seldom will you get a flyer left at your door inviting you to worship services. Perhaps when “Family, Friends and Neighbors day” approaches and members need to meet a pew quota, invitations will come.

Where are the believers?

I haven’t been in fellowship in quite some time. While I am not looking for church membership, or seeking a church home or someone to call…”Pastor”. I believe that fellowship with other believers is essential.

There was a time when you could spot the people of God in the grocery stores and while you were out running errands. Sure, it sounds like I am stereotyping, but anyone older than forty will know what I mean.

As I go about my day and I notice the expressions on the faces of people, I see fear, pain, and emptiness. When I attended church in Georgia, you could find a believer in one of three places, at Church, at Home or in Golden Coral to feed.

Perhaps it’s hard to know who the believers are because everybody is a believer and a Christian. The rude cashier, the person who cut you off in traffic (on the way to Bible Study), the lady who dinged your car door in the church parking lot. For the past year that I’ve been living here in Charlotte NC, I’ve only been exposed to religious broadcasting, that’s not working for me.

I still hear people promote their church as if it were the most excellent of entertainment venues in the city. “We have an awesome praise and worship team” and “The Praise Dancers are Good!” and Our pastor is a great teacher! Everyone is doing ministry but within the four walls of the venue! I think, for now, I will retreat to my prayer closet.

Place of worship or entertainment venue?

When someone is looking for a place to fellowship, the internal question I believe they ask is,  “Why should I come to your church?”. It’s nothing to get defensive about; I think its a valid question. When you reach the answer, it should help you to decide to decline the offer or keep searching. Sure, no place is perfect, and I don’t think people are looking for perfection. People want to be where they matter and where they can grow in the strength and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For those desiring entertainment, who may be looking for the plasma screens in the lobby, the impressive edifice, the droves of nice people attending, I hope you don’t get lost in all that technology and fluff. The big screen in the sanctuary, the step teams and the other clubs and social groups formed in most churches resembles life for some B.C ( Before Christ).  I realize that we need something for our young people, couples, and singles, or do we? No longer is Christ lifted up or seems to be enough to draw and keep, we need gadgets, gimmicks and entertainment.

Not looking for a Pastor or Preacher

While some people are looking for answers because they have questions and real-life problems; others want to be entertained and are attracted to the throngs of people having a good time.

Often time’s people need to talk, and they need someone to listen and not condemn, judge or ridicule.  Many people will need a friend and not a preacher, pastor or evangelist. Take the time to know the person or the family before you push “Membership” or a commitment to financially support “The Ministry.” Pointing out a person’s lack of prayer or church affiliation won’t help, heal and restore that person to where they need to be spiritually or naturally.

When you have earned their trust, and they’ve experienced your sincerity, you may have the opportunity to present the Good News!

G.A.T.G

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We’re Back!

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Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

We are back; It’s been a long time since my last post ( more like years ). What happened? Life happened and rather than allow our site to lay dormant; it was taken down.

This time, Going Against The Grain is back with a passion! Shining a light on those topics we dare to write about! Relationships, Love, Divorce, Family, and Friends..oh yes I can’t forget Religion!

There is much material, written over the years that we are going to share and perhaps many popular articles will be re-posted!

Thanks for stopping by, please come back soon, the changes will be noticeable!

G.A.T.G

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