Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You Are Enough!

This past weekend Travis and I attended the Home Going Services for perhaps one of the humblest men of God a person could ever know, Elder Walter Franklin. Elder Franklin was more than a pastor. He was our spiritual father and he had a passionate heart for the people.  His ministry wasn’t based on membership drives, plush pews or church building funds. His primary focus was on teaching the word of God and serving God’s people. He was a loving husband and devoted father of ten…yes ten children. He pastored four churches during his time with United Holiness Church. He was a very busy man…yet he still found time to be there for our graduations, weddings, the birth of our children and just because. His family never felt neglected and his church always felt loved.
Elder and Sis Franklin (pictured center) with 2nd United Youth Dept
Attending his funeral was a bittersweet occasion. Bitter because of the obvious and sweet because we were able to see saints from the old church whom we hadn’t seen in years. These people had a strong hand in our upbringing. Growing up they fed us, taught us and told on us whenever we got out of line. Seeing all of them again was just what we needed. You see I’ve been struggling with losing heart about today’s church. The bible says in the last days the love many shall wax cold but I never thought it would be like this. Church today has become too commercial and loose in its standard of living. Image, numbers and pleasing “passa” (pastor) has replaced God’s commandment to love, teach and comfort. A spirit of shunning and seclusion has taken reign in the body of Christ. If you dare answer the call to step out and teach the word of God, you are shunned and if you aren’t a part of today’s Christian social club, you are secluded until you show yourself worthy.

I was beginning to look at my children and ache because I wanted them to have what we had growing up. I wanted them to experience being a part of a body of Christ that loved purely and unconditionally. I wanted them to experience the presence of God FOR REAL…no downloaded sermons and prayers and no imitation outpours of the Holy Spirit. I was afraid Travis and I alone wouldn’t be enough. I wanted them to have a church family like we did growing up. I wanted them to have church friends they could lean on like we did growing up.

And then we ran into Elder Robinson at the repast. He also pastored one of the churches at UHC (just in case you didn’t know United Holiness Church was a body of ten churches throughout Georgia, Alabama and Florida). Elder Robinson greeted Travis and I with the sweetest smile and big ole hug. With his hand to his heart he said “This does my heart good to see you young folks still holding to God.” He said “You know the ole church is a dying art. I was beginning to think when we were gone the church would die with us but seeing you all and the rest of the young people today did me good. You all can carry on.”

His words reminded me that we do what it takes. We are enough. We were given a firm foundation as children. All we have to do is stand and never give up. I understand now what the bible meant when it said to remember not the days of the old (Isaiah 43:18). God wasn’t telling us to forget the past per se. He was instructing us not to get so caught up on the past that we give up on our future. Spreading the love of God does not have to be a “dying art”. We refuse to allow satan to break our spirits. Instead we choose to turn this test into our testimony and work relentlessly at reclaiming God’s lost and runaway sheep. Yes the church is under attack but I thank God for reminding us we were armed a long time ago with what we need to stand strong through the storm. For those of you who have been shunned, isolated or beginning to give up on the church, I pray you are remember…YOU ARE ENOUGH. All you have to do is stand.