I'm typically at all 3 services at Grace on Sundays, but I was able to have this Sunday "off" from church. My family and I, though, wanted to attend the 1st service and then enjoy the rest of the day with each other. Anyway, if you have kids now or have raised kids, you may relate to this. It was one of those mornings where our 6, 4, 3, and 1 1/2 year olds were in rare form. Nothing was making them happy. All were upset about something. Crying, screaming, drama, chaos ... I literally felt like my head was going to explode! I got in to our van unhappy, frustrated, and really knowing that my heart was not ready to hear from God right then because of such a chaotic morning.
We pulled in to the church parking lot and the frustration continued as our one daughter nearly refused to get out of our van. I was nearly tempted to leave her there, but that wouldn't have been very pastoral of me. :) Well, after "enticing" her out of the van, we made our way to the church. I was tense and stressed. But, as I walked closer to the entrance, I was warmly greeted by someone at the front door holding it open for my family and I. The host had a huge smile on his face. He was warm, friendly, and genuinely seem happy to see us. It's hard to describe it, but receiving this kind of welcome instantly brought some peace to me. We continued on in to the church where we experienced the same warmness from our Kid City staff that checked us in. Again, very refreshing and it began a process of calming my spirit.
I share all of that for this reason ... I'm sure I'm not the only one who sometimes pulls in to the church parking lot bringing a little "chaos" with them. Marriage problems, work problems, family drama, health concerns ... you name it and someone is probably bringing it with them to church on any given Sunday. Whether or not you're "officially" on the host team doesn't matter. Your smile, warm handshake, kindness, and sincerity can make a huge difference in a person's life and set the stage for God to move in their hearts.
It's important to remember, if you're a follower of Jesus, that we all play a role in what God is doing. I told our host team today that a person's next step in to our building may be their next step closer to Jesus. I'm so thankful that we all can help someone in their journey.