We finally made it out to Guts Church for Sunday morning worship today! It was a little bit of a different experience from the Wednesday we visited, but not as much as you might expect.
THIS time, we got there in plenty of time to get everybody checked in and find some seats before the music started. We got a nice parking space, close to where Mikey's class was... it was a completely different arrival situation than the last time, with one exception: as they did the last time, people who greeted us were all VERY friendly. I think we were probably greeted with a smile five or six times before we even got inside the main building! I know those people are there deliberately and it wasn't some spontaneous display of enthusiasm on their part, but it made us feel very welcome, nonetheless.
This time I took notice of the long line of motorcycles all parked in a special area right next to the building. Must have been at least twenty of them. Did I mention yet that this is an edgy church? :)
When we went on a Wednesday night, they put Hannah into the 1-year-old classroom, even though she's 21 months old already. This time they put her into the 2-year-old classroom instead. The teacher this time seemed enthusiastic to see Hannah, which made us feel good about that. :) I noticed something this time that I didn't notice the last time, too... there are video monitors outside the nursery area showing each of the classrooms (1s, 2s & 3s, 4s & 5s). Pretty cool that there is that degree of transparency there, although to be honest, you can't tell much from looking at the monitors... they show the part of the classrooms that is closest to the entry, and most of the activities seem to take place in the other part. So you see a big empty room with tiny little people really far away... but it does give you a window into the classrooms, which is kind of nice.
We went on in and got seats a little closer than the last time, and a little closer to the center, too. The song service did appear to be a little longer, which was cool... it ran almost 15 minutes, which is still shorter than I would like (come on, guys, give us one more song!) but didn't seem truncated like the Wednesday service did. There was a really cool video about someone who came to The Nightmare years ago and became a Christian that night, and who eventually wound up bringing his brother to Guts (he got saved) and then their mom and dad (who apparently also got saved at Guts!) It was a pretty cool video!
The message today was about finding your call and being true to it. The cornerstone Scripture was from the first chapter of Jeremiah, where God calls Jeremiah, Jeremiah tries to make excuses about why he is unable to follow God's call (I'm just a youth!), and God tells him, listen, if you say what I tell you to say and do what I tell you to do, it doesn't matter who you are, because I will do the work. It was a terrific word, especially for people like us who are in a time of transition into a new phase of God's will for us. Cathy and I love to sing, but let's face it... mid- and late thirties is not the prime time of life to embark on a music career. But if we do what God tells us to do and say what He tells us to say, we can't help but succeed!
Cathy is pretty excited about Guts. The atmosphere is very relaxed (like us), and the messages have been right on. Mikey and Hannah both seem to enjoy their classes (in fact, Mikey ran into a friend from Kindergarten in Guts Kids today!), and Mikey is getting something out of the lesson in his area. Another serious positive point about Guts is that it's really close to our house... our old church was a 20-25 minute drive, and this church is about ten minutes max. I'm still not quite sure I'm ready to commit completely to Guts, though. I'm hoping to feel a breath of fresh air and everything falling into place when we find our new home church (I've heard lots of stories like that), but I don't know if that will happen or not. There are about five more churches on our list to visit; if it doesn't hit us like a thunderbolt anywhere and no other church impresses us like Guts does, Guts may well be the place we call home by the first of the year.