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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

'Is It Church Day?'

By Gary Rogers
March 27, 2011

“Is it church day? I want to go to church!”

Three-year-old Shandi Jordan’s energetic plea completely defeated any ambition of sleeping late on Sunday morning. Every Sunday brought the same ritual. Shandi loved church and thought her mom and dad should share her passion.

They didn’t.

Penny and Joe Jordan married after each had suffered through a terrible divorce. They were two hurting people who brought all their pain and disappointment into their relationship. In the time it took to develop the wedding pictures, the marriage was already spiraling toward disaster.

But always in the background was a little girl asking, “Is it church day?”

The birth of a bouncing baby boy gave new hope and joy to the Jordan home. There was a renewed commitment to make the marriage work. For the next three years Parker’s birth held the marriage and family together. Then the moral failure of an affair threatened the very foundation of the marriage.

But when Sunday came, there was Shandi’s squeaky voice proclaiming, “I want to go to church!”

Something kept Penny and Joe together. They had every reason to end their marriage. There seemed to be no hope of restoration, but they were not ready to give up. Then Penny suffered a back injury that required surgery.

The pain following the surgery seemed unbearable. The longer Penny used her pain medication, the more important it became to her. It was hard for her to consider life without her pills. Soon addiction filled her mind with anger and disappointment for every aspect of her life. Lies and betrayal followed, as prescription narcotics became more important than anyone or anything.

But when Sunday came, there was Shandi’s little voice asking, “Is it church day?”

In time, divorce seemed to be the only answer to the Jordans’ pain. After four years of marriage, Joe and Penny were at the courthouse declaring their reasons for requesting an end to their relationship.

Even while divorced, “Is it church day?” could be heard in the separate houses. Now along with his sister, little Parker was shouting out the same question.

After 18 months of being divorced, something compelled Joe and Penny to try again at being a family. Joe moved back into the house. Penny was still battling her addiction and was in bed most of the time. Joe was convinced he would find her dead at any moment. There was still so much anger and disappointment in the relationship, but they tried with all their might to make it work.

New neighbors moved in next door. They attended an Assemblies of God church in town. One Wednesday afternoon Shandi came bouncing in asking, “Mom, can I go to church with our neighbors?” There was no ignoring or denying her request. Soon both Shandi and Parker were going every Wednesday night and some Sundays. There was no restraining Shandi now. She got her wish; she was going to church regularly.

One Sunday morning Joe got up and dressed in nice clothes. Looking up from the bed in a stupor, Penny asked, “Where are you going?” He said, “I’m going to church with my kids!”

Now Shandi had her dad and brother both going to church with her. She was ecstatic at almost being a family in church together. Now the question changed to, “Mom, are you going to church with us?”

Soon Shandi saw her dream become a reality. What she longed for was to be a family together in church. Penny responded to the ongoing invitation and joined the rest of the family in attending a church service. This was the day Shandi had envisioned. Both parents and her little brother were attending church together with her as a family.

As the family continued to come together to church, God was given the opportunity to work in the Jordans’ marriage and relationships. The Holy Spirit began to reveal needed change to both Penny and Joe. Penny entered a drug rehabilitation program.

The first Wednesday night out of rehab, she was back in church with her family. When the altar call was given, she went forward for prayer. Penny’s life had been so messed up, but she was ready to give God a chance. The people of Grand Assembly of God gathered around her with no condemnation and prayed for her deliverance. Deliverance came!

Joe and Penny both accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They were both filled with the Holy Spirit and experienced God’s fullness. The love and acceptance of the church caused them to become a faithful part of the church family. No longer did they wait for Shandi’s plea to attend church. Now they were together as a family in God’s house.

Spiritual growth came with time. Soon Joe and Penny were able to extend to each other the grace and mercy they had received from the Lord. On their anniversary, they exchanged new vows of love and commitment. God forgave their sins, delivered Penny from drugs, healed their marriage, and established their home on the unshakable rock of His love.

Today the Jordan family remains a vital part of our church family. Joe, as a greeter, is one of the first faces you see when you walk into the church. Penny is a youth sponsor and involved in women’s ministry and also greets people with a big smile as they enter the church. Shandi is now a beautiful teenager who is never hesitant to give her pastor a hug. I get one almost every service. The Jordans are beautiful examples of God’s saving power.

When you talk to Joe or Penny today, they’ll tell you they are so thankful for those Sunday mornings when they heard that squeaky, little voice echoing through the house, “Is it church day?”

GARY ROGERS is pastor of Grand Assembly of God in Chickasha, Okla.

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