Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 323- An Old Time Religion First

I was in Pensacola today visiting a friend in the hospital. I looked up some attractions on in Pensacola on the Internet for a possible "first."  I wanted to do the deep sea fishing, parasailing or Waverunners, but time and temperature were not conducive for those.  I did find where the Old Christ Church was located near where I was.  It is one of the oldest churches in Florida.  I went to see the Old Christ Church in Pensacola for my "first."

I learned the following from their website. This church was built in 1832 in Pensacola and is a historic Episcopal church building. That's pretty old.  In 1827, the General Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church sent the Rev. Ralph Williston to Tallahassee by way of New Orleans. He stopped in Pensacola for three weeks and conducted Episcopal services in an old theatre and in the courthouse. He reported that he found 12 communicants of the Church along with 10 Methodists, 2 Presbyterians, and 2 Baptists in a population of 2,000. That would have been a small Baptist Church if I had been there to organize Baptists.  On May 4, 1827, Mr. Williston called a meeting of citizens at the courthouse for the purpose of “embodying and collecting public sentiment upon the subject of establishing a Protestant Church…” The meeting resulted in the establishment of the first Protestant Association in Pensacola, and the Association united to support a Protestant Episcopal Church. Seven vestrymen were elected that day, to lead the first non-Roman Catholic congregation in northwest Florida.

In 1829 the lot was purchased and and construction began in 1830. The General Missionary Society sent the Rev. Addison Searle to be in charge of the new parish as the first Rector of Christ Church. He remained only a few months and was succeeded by the Rev. Benjamin Hutchins of Philadelphia, the 2nd Rector. The cost to build the building was $4,500. I read where the building was Norman Gothic. I have no idea what that means other than maybe it's the architectural style. If that's what it is, I think that style has a really tall bell tower.

The building was pretty and I wanted to go in. Rats! The door was locked. The website said it was open, but I think I was supposed to call ahead or go on a tour or something. They also had a fence around the yard that made it hard to peek in the windows. I had to be content to stay outside.


This reminded me of Revelation 3:20 where Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."  Many times people have used that to say that Jesus stands at the door of someone's heart and wants to come in.  There is some Biblical truth behind that statement. Jesus does desire to come into our lives as Lord and Savior. A close reading of Revelation 3 reveals that it was written to a church; the church at Laodicea.  Jesus is standing at the door of a church and knocking. What a terrifying thought!  We can get so lukewarm, self-centered, and self satisfied that we leave Jesus out of the church where He's supposed to be Lord.

This reminds me of a statement I heard years ago.  A guy said,"If the Holy Spirit did not show up at your church on Sunday, how many people would miss Him?"  Quite a provoking thought.  I was reminded today to make sure Jesus is at home in His church.  I was reminded that we can get so busy with church that we forget about the Lord and what He wants to do.  Let's make sure our Lord is where He needs to be in church: in charge!  How do we do that?  In reading Revelation 3, the answer would be to be zealous, repent, and invite Jesus in.

Looking to Jesus for the abundant life,

3 things I thank God for today
1. People who loved Jesus in previous generations and handed the Gospel to us
2. Christ wants in His church
3. Garbage pick up day

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