Yesterday at Charm City we talked about praise and worship, the morning started off with Pastor Mike leaving the mic open for five minutes and people could go and publicly praise him for whatever they felt led too. It was such a beautiful sight, there was a guy who went forward who admitted it was the first time that he'd talked to God in a long time and the words he spoke were beautiful, others were praising God for their families, for nature and a couple our new friends from Virginia thanked God for letting them be a part of what was happening there yesterday.
The service continued we shared testimonies, we worshiped, we praised him, Pastor Mike gave an awesome sermon. The service went on for 2.5 hours yesterday and it was probably one of the best 2.5 hours of my life. At the end of the service Julia played the piano softly and Pastor Mike started on one side of the room and we all praised God for something. Again, people were praising him for life, people were praising him for friends, for family, for love...someone praised God for not forgetting her, by sending a beautiful part of nature across her path that morning. As you can imagine most of us couldn't contain our tears at this point. Finally we reached the side of the room where the kids were sitting, J thanked God for his mother, N.P. thanked God for the people who loved him, L thanked God for the breath that comes out of his mouth, R thanked God that she got to live another day and for the people who love her, two more boys thanked God for their mother.
As we continued to praise God I realized my kids really are thankful that they wake up another day, they really are thankful that they've been spared another murder, another beating that they've been given another day and another chance. Something that I can't fathom having to worry about on a daily, hourly basis.
While, I won't forget any of these praises there are two that really stick out in my mind, from two teenagers, one of them said, "I am thanking God that I am not on the streets, getting involved in the things the other kids are getting into." This is a kid who's been a part of Charm City and what Pastor Mike has been doing for seven years now, he'll graduate high school this year, I pray and beg God that this child will make it, that he'll continue to see that getting involved in the ways of the street are not the life for him. I pray that he'll make wise choices concerning his future plans and that he'll continue to seek God in everything he does.
The second praise that really got to me and everyone else, was from C.G., she was provided with a wonderful opportunity last week to spend a few days in Ocean City, she was attending a convention that could potentially reward her with a scholarship to college. She was thankful for that opportunity but even more thankful that for the first time in her life she got to experience one of God's beautiful creations, the ocean. She said as she stood there and looked out over the ocean she could not believe that this was something God created, for her, for you, for me, for us. These are things that some of us take for granted for C.G., who knows if she'll ever walk on the beach again, but I too thank God she was given the chance.
It was so amazing to hear people praising God yesterday, but it was also very convicting to realize all of the things that I don't remember to thank God for, like being able to walk, talk, see, hear, having a car to drive, a home to live in. We were challenged yesterday to see if for the rest of November we could wake up and immediately remember to Thank God for something, and make it a habit, I've started off well...are you up for the challenge?