One of the things that I enjoy about an extended stay with my in-laws is that it offers the opportunity to visit other churches in their area. It just so happens that their area is north Alabama. There is no shortage of churches in north AL (anywhere in Alabama for that fact), however, in the mix are some really good churches. One of those is First Baptist Muscle Shoals. It was about an hour and 15 min. drive for us from her parent’s house but we don’t get to visit other churches very often so it was worth the drive. I was hoping to get to go to FBC Muscle Shoals in the morning and then go to Grace Community Church in Huntsville, AL. Paul Lamey is the Pastor/Teacher at GCC and he blogs at Expository Thoughts with wordpress. However, those plans got pushed back and I will see him on another visit, Lord willing!
It is worth mentioning, that FBC Muscle Shoals changed their name to “Grace Life at the Shoals.” They changed it this passed summer because they were not the First Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, but still bared the FBC name. The current staff and church sought to rectify the situation by changing the name to “Grace Life.” I think that is a great mark of integrity.
This church is the home church of Paul Washer. One who is becoming dear to my heart every time I hear him preach. He is the founder of Heart Cry Missionary Society. His latest sermon has been well noted in the blogging community, and in many other circles, when he delivered the 10 indictments against the American Church. This man is truly a gifted man. He wasn’t there, I would have liked to have met him.
However, it was my great delight that I was able to sit under Jeff Noblit, the teaching Pastor. He was great. I really enjoyed his personal appeal to his people. He was teaching through a series on ffinances, and at first I was wishing that he would preach from some great doctrinal passage but the Lord showed me what wisdom Bro. Jeff was giving to his people. He wasn’t just preaching/teaching to them, but shepharding them in very practical ways by the Word. I was grateful for his message!
It was nice in many ways, more than just the preaching. When we arrived, the people were friendly, both entering the building and those who sat around us. One of the Elders came and talked with me for a long time making sure that my family and I were welcomed. That ment a lot to Kelli and I. But I was mostly encouraged by the number of children that were in the service. My wife and I feel strongly that we need to have our children in the service with us not in children’s church or the nursery. We enjoy multi-generational worship, but not many people share this joy. It appeared that Grace life at the Shoals was at least friendly to this view (with so many little kids in the service) and that was encouraging!
One more thing to love about the church was their book store! It was great. Packed with solid treasures. And of course I bought one, “Southern Baptist Sermons on Sovereignty and Responsibility” by: Manly, Johnson, Howell, and Fuller. It is compiled by Dr. Thomas J. Nettles. I am enjoying every bit of it!
The next time you take some vac. time or just a trip to see the in-laws, take a few minuntes to plan a time to worship at a Bible teaching church. Even if you have to drive an hour or so… it will be worth it!