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Be grateful for your church
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In this column through the years, I have shared with you a great deal about my own life.
I do not do that because I think that I have all of the answers, because I absolutely do not. Rather, it has been my intent to show how real life and the Bible intersect, and sometimes collide, by sharing real-life examples from my own personal experiences.  
Here’s the deal. There have been those times when I have handled adversity and difficulties very well. And there have been those times when I have fallen flat on my face in failure. In the current situation in my life, quite frankly, the jury still is out. I am not sure how well I am dealing with the pain of watching my son seeking recovery from a major injury sustained in a work accident. But I certainly have learned a number of lessons already that have been a great help to me.
The first thing I know is that I could not have survived without the Lord by my side. I have wanted to give up. I have wanted to quit. But the one who says in the Bible, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” has been true to his word. It is not my faith that has sustained me, but the one in whom I have faith.  
Secondly I have been helped and encouraged by my family. My dad, mother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law and others have been so good to us. But my wife and my oldest son and daughter-in-law have been as solid as rocks. Without question, I married well. God gave us family for a reason. We so desperately need each other.  
The third group that has stood by me has been my church family. I have served First Baptist in Pembroke for eight years now. We have had some struggles, but God has blessed our church in many ways.
But in the last month they have turned the tables and ministered to their pastor and his family in wonderful, powerful ways. I could write a book. As I said to them a few weeks back, “They have been the church.”  
No church is perfect. But when a church is healthy, it is a blessing to all who attend and are members. I am so grateful for the First Baptist family members in Pembroke. They are blessings to me.  
I want to encourage you to be faithful in your church. People there need you. And the time may come when you need them. God has given us the church. It is called the bride of Christ in the Bible.
We neglect the church at our own peril. Many have given up on the church. Not me. I believe in the people of God. And I am grateful for them, too.

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