It is absolutely amazing that God loves us! I can't stand being around most people, and I am not particularly all that fond of myself either. I guess it is safe to say that I like people who are Christ like, and often times, I am not. Don't get me wrong, I honestly "love" everyone I have met; but it is the kind of love that would move me to sacrifice my life for the person, but would not motivate me to waste a moment of my short life with them.
There were many people I knew before I was a Christian, who were sources of joy to me. I enjoyed spending time with them because we had much in common, usually involving alcohol. Sports, with the camaraderie that they provided, have a special place in my heart. I can also remember the same camaraderie with co-workers on jobs. But, when I look back at all of those people, I didn't really have a relationship with them other than those activities we shared.
BUT, when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, things changed. I discovered an entire "extended family" that reached around the world. I could go into any church and immediately feel I was welcomed. I found acceptance and a genuine love from people I had just met. Don't get me wrong, I have met a lot of jerks in church, but they are usually far out numbered by those who loved the Lord, and loved me. When I go to my church and see the faces of those I know, "my heart smiles." I like being with that majority who are trying to live for Christ. I wish I could say that I have the spiritual gift of discernment, and could tell who is sincere and who is not, but unfortunately, I can't. Some of my greatest disappointments in the forty years I have known Christ, have been from discovering not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord," is genuine. Thank God they are the small minority.
There have been many churches which God used to train and nurture me through the years. I have been fortunate to find a Bible believing, Bible obeying, Bible teaching churches wherever we moved. West Pensacola Baptist Church baptized us. Barcroft Bible Church took us from the "milk" to the "meat" of the Word. Graceland Baptist Church taught us that diversity in beliefs does not preclude fellowship around the unity we have in the Lord. Bethany Baptist Church taught us what Pastors have to endure. And finally, Charlestown Independent Church is teaching us to accept ourselves and others who occasionally fail to live holy lives.
There are many other good churches around this world in which we live, but I want to recommend a special one to those who are reading this: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/ Is a web-site resource for serious Bible students. They have hundreds of excellent studies and teaching helps available free of charge. There are thirteen week Sunday school lessons, doctrinal studies, apologetics, and great teachings on prophecy. Our home church is where we worship and fellowship with our brethren; Middletown is where we can find "food" with which to feed ourselves. I thank God for faithful brethren wherever they are!