Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: The Chapel on the Hill
By Wendell Owens
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On a good Sunday you might find 40 to 50 people in service, praising and worshipping the Lord. They still sing the old hymns that have been long forgotten by todays Churches, and they still consider altar calls the most important part of each service.
Pastor Jones is way up into his 80's now but still commands the word of God like he did when I was a boy. His countenance has changed though, for now he is no longer "stomp and snort" but there seems to be a soft holy glow when he reads from the Bible and tells the old, old story.
When she was alive, Grandma would make us get up early and dress for service every Sunday. Of course we were poor so our clothes weren't as nice as some of the folks but none the less, you were gonna go to church or you were gonna go to hell. Some may feel that kind of thinking is wrong today, but it did set a presidence in our lives of how important it was to be a part of God's people.
I remember the very Sunday night service that changed my life forever. I had just returned from Viet Nam after my tour of duty in the Navy. It was a cold and blistering snow storm that had come in and we fought to walk in it as we tred up that hill to the Chapel. It was the kind of winter storm where each snow flake being driven by a fierce wind stings your face and hands like sandpaper.
I could hear the quartet in the Chapel singing "The Old Rugged Cross" as we entered the doorway. Something changed in my spirit as I took my usual seat on the worn bench pewh next to Momma.
Something was different about this service. The music seemed more holy, the sermon seemed more personal, and the altar call seem to be directed just at me.
I sat there for a moment thinking, "what in the world? I have known the Lord all my life, what's going on here?"
I no more than got those words out of my mouth, than a still small voice in the depths of my heart said, "Yes, you know OF me, but you have not met me personally yet son."
I was shocked at God talking to me like that. I had been taught the Bible since I was old enough to walk and knew my scriptures backwards and forwards, so what did he mean by that statement?
Just then the Holy Ghost whispered in my ear, "Yes, you know the scriptures well. Do you recall what Jesus said to Nicodemus in the garden?"
Within myself I pulled up that portion of scripture and quietly answered "yes, He said, You MUST be born again!" "That's right" said the Holy Ghost, then He fell silent as if to make me chew on that for awhile.
It was then I realized that no matter how much book learning you got, not matter how many times you been baptized, or how much you attend church, "YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN!"
I understood for the 1st time that I had never been changed. I had never personally recieved Jesus Christ into MY heart and been born again. I started crying like a baby and asking Jesus to forgive me for all the sins I had ever done and please come into my heart.
There came over me a joy I had never known, a joy so Holy and complete that I knew that I knew it was the very presence of Jesus himself.
I was born again that second day of January 1970, and no devil in hell shall ever convince me otherwise.
Some tell me to this day that I walked out of that church with the same holy glow old Pastor Jones has, and I will never forget the day my name was written in the Lamb's book of life in my church, that Chapel on the Hill.
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