Tempered

After several months of it laying on my shelf, halfway completed, I finally finished the book Mob Rules: What the Legitimate Businessman Can Learn From The Mafia by Louis Ferrante. Incredible book. One of the final chapters covered the topic of living by virtue, integrity, and with values. Coming from a former mobster, it was interesting to hear him speak of these things. However, after reading from the book, one can’t help but wonder if Casa Nostra; the mob, has rock solid principals and beliefs that many ‘legitimate’ businesses lack.

Read the book. You won’t regret it.

This morning, I went to church. It’s been nearly two months since I’ve been to church and it was refreshing to be back. Yes, there are a great many things I disagree with in modern church practice and actions. However, this morning left a heavy mark on me. It was the typical Texas megachurch with four satellite campus locations and a projection screen in lieu of a pulpit. However, there was something remarkable about this place that I can explain.

Most times, you hear “I can’t explain it…” to describe a ‘God experience’ somebody may have witnessed. In this case, it was quite explainable and without any mysticism. As soon as I walked into the parking lot, I was greeted by four different individuals who asked me for my name, how I was doing, and if it was my first time.

What made the biggest impression on me was that as I left, the woman, who first greeted me, said “Aaron, how was it?” She remembered my name!

Even if these people have been placed through training and hospitality seminars where name-remembering is practiced, I was impressed and impacted.

An overly-caffienated youth pastor gave the main sermon, in typical youth pastor manner. However, he made one point that really stood out to me; the Father has the whole bowl. Telling the story of his 2 year-old son who, after spilling some of his soup on the ground, began to pick off the pieces from the carpet. The filthy pieces of corn and rice were covered in fluff and carpet grime, but the son kept eating them. He made an excellent point in comparing us to the child, picking off pieces from the ground while ignoring the fact that our Father has the entire bowl and is looking forward to feeding us.

Perhaps it was time I heard something of this nature.

Last night, I decided to go to this church after passing by it on my way home from Wal-Mart, earlier this week. It’s tucked away just off of a major highway in downtown Dallas. While driving, I noticed a big line of cars coming out of a building on a Friday night, and wondered what the commotion was. Illuminated on the building was the name “Fellowship Church” and I immediately bookmarked it on my iPhone.

Love is intentional. Love is not accidental and it does not just ‘happen’ blindly or without work. The same thing applies to life choices, lifestyles, and our walk of life.

In my mind, I had to set myself firm in the decision to go to church. I set four alarms in the morning and made it a point to get up. While in the shower, a line from a Hatebreed song came to mind (Yes, Mom…I still want those shirts back!), or a compilation of them..

“I’ve got to take my life back…one chance to get it right…”

Striking differences in my life become quite clear at these moments and I realize the importance of the choices that are ahead for me.

Coming out of the shower, I walked back into my bedroom. A beautiful woman in my bed, and a closet with my clothes. “You can always go to the second service…” the voice in my mind told me…

I made it to the early service with five minutes to spare.

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