This Christmas season has been absolutely wonderful. These days are especially cherished because my husband is off of work. Some friends of ours made the drive down from Georgia, and we have been so blessed to be able to spend some time with them.
The fellowship with other Christ followers has been bountiful, and I really wish every day could be as such. But, work cannot be avoided forever, and friends cannot be kidnapped and taken home with us (although, I am tempted....).
We were very blessed to be able to visit our favorite church EVER (ODBC). It's so refreshing to hear the Word of God boldly preached- without apology or sugar coating. Brother Jerry's sermons are always filled with correction and conviction that always touch me deep within. He lovingly guides the congregation- the people in his care. You can tell he is passionate about God. I am under no delusion- I know he's not perfect (as he would say, he's a yellow-bellied, good-for-nothing sinner even on his best day), but I do know he is very much an anointed man of God.
He encourages men to be leaders of their homes and women to be their husband's supporters and encouragers. He reminds us that we should not be living defeated lives for the battle has already been won (and Jesus is the Victor!). He's not the sort of preacher to skim the top, but he's very detailed- digging into the meat of the Word.
The man who leads the music portion of the Worship is equally as amazing. Tory is the lead vocalist of the Christian ministry band, Broken Vessels. (Sample their music @ brokenvessels.com). I have only seen a few people lead worship with such passion for Christ- and Tory is one of them.
And last, but certainly not least, are the people. Loving, compassionate, godly folk who aren't out to "act religious" and put on a show. It is always a joy to fellowship with them, and I miss them greatly when we are gone.
It was just a cherry on top to have our friends from Georgia, Trent and Chrissy, visit ODBC with us the last Sunday. We had stayed up until the wee hours of the morning discussing spiritual things after we had dinner at Outback, and it was hard to pull ourselves away and get that rest we needed.
I cannot explain how awesome it is to have such wonderful God-loving friends. We stayed up sharing stories of God's work in our lives and in the lives of others- stories of miracles, convictions, and experiences. It was truly an encouraging evening that I didn't want to end.
Sunday afternoon, we all went to our friends' home for lunch (Trent and Chrissy, and our family of five). John and Ashley are a sweet couple that we have been friends with for several years now. John and my husband, Brandon, worked together at Chili's Bar and Grill years ago (when I was pregnant with our first little one!). Several years ago, we moved back to Louisiana (from Indiana) and ran into a newly wed John at Cracker Barrel. His wife and I became fast friends. John is now a youth pastor.
So, our weekend was fully saturated with fellowship with wonderful friends (our family in Christ!) and left me very encouraged and uplifted (as well as convicted and corrected!).
I felt like this was God's Christmas gift to us! For the last few weeks, God has poured out His blessings on our family, and my arms and lap are overflowing with His goodness!
If you are interested in listening to some of Jerry's sermons, you can download them going to these links: (These are older sermons from 2005-2006 I found online, btw.)