‘Tis the Season

Without the details, I attended a church service within the last few months that left me feeling, well, excuse my language, shitty. Judged and hopeless and disillusioned with the church. I won’t go back, not to that church, at least, not to hear that pastor. I know others who have had BAD experiences with the church—or with Christians—and they don’t see the point in trying. I get it.

Lucky for me I’ve had GOOD experiences, and so this past Sunday I began my day online at the church I attended for the first time back in 1998. This church leaves me feeling hopeful and loved, inspired to adjust my attitude each week and be a better person. Lord knows I’m not perfect, but I try.

Back in 1998, the church was called Fellowship Bible Church North. It was founded by Dr. Gene Getz, who was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary in the early 70s. He taught people to be pastors at a time when the culture in the 60s coming into the 70s had changed drastically, and a lot of churches were not being effective in reaching a changing culture. Many of his students didn’t like church. They questioned church as a concept. They asked questions like, “Who needs the church?”

Dr. Getz came to class in the middle of one semester and said, “Men—” There were no women studying in the seminary at that time. “Obviously, I haven’t prepared this class to answer your question, so I want you to tear up your syllabus with all the assignments…We’re going to go back to the syllabus…We’re going to go back to the book of Acts. We’re going to go into the epistles. We’re going to go as far as we can the rest of the semester and see what God intends the church to be.”

I know this story because I went to church this past Sunday, and what I heard was SO GOOD that I’m leaving the link right here. Gene was there! In 1981, he started this church, which grew and changed locations and became Chase Oaks in 2008. He retired about seventeen years ago. 2021 minus 17 equals 2004. So, I listened to him preach on the Sundays I made it to church for about six years. And let me tell you, this guy is incredibly smart. He knows the Bible—the geography, Greek, you name it, and he breaks it all down into simple, relatable terms.

Why do I feel compelled to tell you this? So glad you asked. After “retiring,” Gene went to work creating a study Bible, the CSB Life Essentials Study Bible. In addition to the scriptures, the text includes QR codes that link to videos of Dr. Gene Getz explaining 1500 Principles to Live By. This includes 300 hours of in-depth teaching. For a sample on Principle 1, Intense Prayer, click here. I’ve given a couple of these Bibles away as gifts, and I just purchased another one. I’m not on commission. I just love Gene, God, and this Bible. Maybe you are looking for a special gift or maybe you want an interactive Bible or maybe you just want to listen to someone who has GOOD news. After all…

‘Tis the Season

P. S. So, let’s say, a person didn’t have time to watch a church service now, but was halfway interested in the concept of finding some spiritual guidance, Chase Oaks Church has a YouTube channel. Click here to subscribe. This is all part of the church adapting to our ever-changing culture.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Just a little formula I apply to life’s circumstances…

Faith + Gratitude = Peace + Hope

24 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season

  1. Thank you so much, Crystal. Recently I have been receiving rich spiritual nourishment via online Sunday services from our former cathedral parish in Central Florida. That place has not changed, only grown tremendously, in joyful worship through sacred music and the Word. We’d still be there had it not been for a cross-country move because of economic reasons some 40 years ago. We miss it. Stream-lined Masses have been a hidden blessing and privilege during this Pandemic.

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    1. After our move to Houston, I had just found a church nearby. Then the pandemic happened, and I didn’t go back. I’m thankful for the online version of what I’ve known for over twenty years.

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  2. Thank you for the Bible study (or study Bible) recommendation. I was actually looking for a new study Bible because the one I have is so dated it’s painful. And THAT’S weird to say because nothing associated with a Bible should be dated because of the Good Book’s enduring word.

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    1. You’re welcome, Priscilla! I’m happy to share and happy to know you’re interested. I probably should’ve mentioned that for every one they sell, they send one to Africa for people who are starting churches and who have no training.

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  3. Glad you were able to find a good spiritual connection again, Crystal 😊. It’s interesting, just recently I started to listen to services online from a church I went to after my divorce for a bit. It’s definitely helping me.

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  4. Good for you, Crystal, and good for your soul that you’re sufficiently curious and are receptive enough not to let that initial experience sour you on spirituality in general.

    Our minds are supple enough to give us the capacity to innovate and to improve. Something Dr. Betz seems to have done – as have you too. My own flavor of choice (Lutheranism) drew from a similar inspiration all those centuries ago.

    That’s not say there never is a need for the Church to challenge smugness or, sometimes, to make people uncomfortable. That’s part of the constant improvement I believe the Almighty would like us to pursue. However, identifying the wrong path only tells part of the story. Much more important – and eternal – is construction. Building, warming and encouraging the better future we all will inhabit.

    It speaks well of your character that you stuck to it long enough to bring such a place into your life, Crystal.

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  5. Thank you for sharing!!.. before my wife’s passing she were visited by a Chaplain, he ask her if she had a religion, she said “No”, he then ask her if she believed in the hereafter and she said “Yes”, the Chaplain said “Good, for it’s what is in the heart that matters, not a name above a door”… just follow your heart, you will not go wrong…. 🙂

    Have a wonderful holiday filled with peace, love and happiness and until we meet again..
    May the love that you give
    Always return to you,
    That family and friends are many
    And always remain true,
    May your mind only know peace
    No suffering or strife,
    May your heart only know love and happiness
    On your journey through life.
    (Larry “Dutch” Woller)

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