June 29, 2013

Family


Hello!  I just returned from an amazing week with my Christ family in Carbondale, IL!


I attend a wonderful church called ClearView and have done so for nine years this November.  I found this amazing family of mine through my RA on my floor my freshman year of college.  I stumbled into this little community, which was meeting in the cafeteria of University High School.  I walked in, dressed up (as I had been taught to do in my early youth) and felt completely confused.  This was a church?  Where were these girls taking me?  Why was everyone dressed in jeans and hoodies?  The pastor wanted me to call him by his first name?  We're going to worship with a guitar and a djembe?

Everything about this first encounter screamed "weird".  Except one thing.  That this group of people seemed like family.  It didn't take long for me to discover that this group of people would be the ones I would live, cry, laugh, and grow with for the rest of my life.

 
Since that first day so much has changed.  I quickly saw the work that God was doing here.  I found no trouble helping them set up and tear down every Sunday.  I joined this small (20-30 people) community for small groups, picnics, retreats, and was eventually baptized.  Slowly over the course of the next nine years, our little family would eventually move to the Castle Theater in Bloomington and spend the next six or so years worshiping, growing, learning, and changing.  Then two years ago we were blessed through God's grace to be able to move into a newly renovated space so that our now larger family would have room to grow.


I should also mention that Clearview is a part of an amazing network of churches all around the country.  This week, I got to spend four days with them.  And, I can tell you that I can't express how it feels to be able to walk into a room of 700 people, most of whom I don't even know, and feel like I'm home.  That I'm among family.  For three days we worshiped, prayed, heard God given leaders preach, and watched the Holy Spirit move in ways that I've never seen.  The conference was to a new intensity.  It was incredible to feel the spirit moving amongst us.  So many people were healed, freed, and empowered.

 On the left is the water bottle that conference go-ers received at the 2009 summer conference when there were only six churches in the network.  The one on the right is the gift we received this year.  There are now TEN churches listed!  What God has done in just four years!! 

My heart is so full.  This season we are in is such a sweet one, where we are a small, close-knit family.  The memories we have formed are a gift.  However, we are heading into a new season.  churches are being planted every year, more and more people are coming into relationships with Jesus, and this family is growing.  As sweet as the first season has been, it's so exciting to think what Jesus is going to do in this next one.

God is moving.  He is up to something amazing, and I truly believe, bringing revival to our cities.  I cannot imagine what God is going to do over the next year.  And I am so lucky to be just a small part of it.

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