A Homecoming of Sorts - Day 2

The House That Built Me
Today was much more emotional than I expected.  It has been over 23 years since I returned to Chesterfield. I have come to the realization that I had "discounted" much of my experiences while living in Chesterfield in making me what I have become.  As I walked through the yard of our old house, I was moved to know that ALL of it has played a part in what I am today.  I kept hearing the song "House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert in my head.  It was much more emotional than I had anticipated. I will write more as I process it, but for now just know I am so grateful for my parent's who have sacrificed for me, the friends that played with me and the community and time I grew up in.  I also visited the Elementary and Middle Schools I attended as well as see my Dad's old place of employment. It has been an AWESOME day.


A Homecoming of Sorts - Day 1

Over the next few days I am embarking on a road trip to my childhood home (Chesterfield, Va). One of the biggest reasons for taking this trip is seeing Daryl Turlington. He was in the 6th grade when I started as Minister of Students at PVBC 10 years ago. Donna and I have had to privilege of seeing him grow into a man after God's heart. I always said during his time at UNC-Chapel Hill that I would go see him but it never worked out with either of our schedules. Well now that he has graduated and is working at VCU in Richmond, I thought this is the time. Donna and I also have the blessing of bringing some great friends with us (The Hollidays) who also have invested much time and love into Daryl and many other students. I am praying for a few specific things for this trip to accomplish but I'll keep those close to my chest for now.

Secondly, I am looking forward to tomorrow because I am going to see the house and neighborhood I was raised in for the first 12 years of my life. I haven't been "Home" in a looooooong time. If you have ever moved as a teen you know how "akward" it is to return over the years to see old friends. One thing becomes painfully obvious. Over time we all change. Anyway, I can't wait to share a little of my life story with my wife who has never been to see my "humble beginnings".

Finally, some good friends of ours from our time at First North are at Colonial Heights Baptist church and I hope to see them, even if it is just for a moment. We shall see :) Either way, I am blessed with a great family, friends, ministry and most importantly a God that loves me in spite of my faults. This should be an interesting journey.

If you want to read more about how I got to this point, check out this old blog post http://www.jamesbstrickland.com/2009/06/why-i-am-here.html


A Case of The Mondays?

Has anyone ever asked you ON a Monday if you had a "Case of the Mondays." Case meaning like it is an epidemic or something. Yes, Monday's are hard especially if we make the weekend all about us. After having "our" time, it's back to giving our time to other people. This is one reason I am grateful for church and worship. It reminds me that really I am on "His" time and that those moments spent in worship will give me the break and encouragement needed to break through the "Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc.)

If you attended church Sunday, think back to one thing that God told you or comforted you with. Meditate on it and thank Him for it. If you did not attend services somewhere, just know there are churches on every corner that are seeking to share God's love and strength with you. Check out Psalm 84:1-4

1 How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 2 I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near Your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! 4 What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing Your praises. (NLT)

Do we have to go to church to be saved? No, salvation is not about our works but His grace. However, the writer of this psalm wanted a change of location. A chance to get out of his everyday surroundings to meet God inside his dwelling place. We can meet God anywhere, at any time. But we find encouragement in the people, prayers, music, and sermons we share every Sunday. These people are not "perfect" but going through the process of being more like Christ. I pray you find a church that preaches God's Word the Bible and offers you the retreat this psalmist wrote about.