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Today’s Truth

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7 ESV)

(Romans 15:7 ESV)

Friend to Friend

Nestled 50 feet off Highway 17 in Pawley’s Island, S.C., rests C.J.’s Beach Club. For years, Steve and I eyed the clapboard building tucked in the grove of myrtle trees, but it wasn’t the sort of place we would tend to visit. One weekend it was just the two of us on a short holiday at the beach, and we were feeling adventurous. Steve turned the car onto the crushed-oyster-shell parking lot of C.J’s, and we decided to taste the local nightlife of the coastal South.

C.J.’s was a dance club. Now, before you click delete in shock that we would darken the doors of such a place, I want you to stay with me a moment. We grew up doing a dance called “The Shag,” which is like an East Coast swing. This was shag night at C.J.’s, and the disc jockey spinning the 45s was about 75 years old and had a striking resemblance to my mother-in-law.

Steve and I felt a bit uncomfortable as we walked through the doors and noted the neon signs advertising various drinks, but we were committed. All eyes turned toward the new couple as we walked across the threshold…there was no turning back. The smell of popcorn laced with cigarette smoke filled the air as middle-aged couples shuffled their feet to old beach music under the spinning disco ball.

We each ordered a Coke and found a seat. It wasn’t two minutes before a couple wandered over to our table and sat down.

“Hi, I’m Tom,” the forty-something man said as he extended his hand to Steve. “And this is my wife, Julie.”

“Hi,” Julie chimed in.

“Hi, Julie. Hi, Tom,” we returned.

“We’ve never seen you here before,” Tom continued. “Do you live around here?”

“No, we’re from Charlotte. Just down here on vacation,” Steve answered. “What about you two? Are you from around here?”

“We live in Georgetown just down the road,” Tom replied. “We come up here to shag on Friday nights. Most of the people in here are regulars. We all know each other. Like one big family.”

After 20 minutes of conversation, we knew each other’s occupations, children’s ages, college alma mater, favorite hobbies, and various branches of their family tree.

“See you on the dance floor,” Tom called as they said their goodbyes and made their way to the next table to visit. As soon as they walked away, another couple sat down, and the same friendly banter ensued. Then another couple…then another. By the time we left C.J.’s, we felt as though we had been welcomed into the family. We had walked in as wary strangers and walked away as warm friends.

“Y’all come back when you’re down this way again,” several called out as we made our way to the door.

As we drove away in silence with the sound of oyster shells crunching under our tires, sadness washed over me. “I have been in many churches in my time, but never one that was as welcoming and warm as those folks were tonight,” I whispered. “We have a lot to learn.” Steve felt the same.

No one said to the men and women in the dance club, “Now turn and greet someone around you.” It was simply spontaneous, genuine interest.

What is going to attract the world to the church and ultimately a relationship with Jesus Christ? Genuine interest, caring, and concern. More than door-to-door canvassing, modern facilities, or the latest media-savvy services, relationships are the net that brings in a bounty of souls.

Like parched, cracked ground opening wide for a drop of rain, spiritually parched men and women are longing for a drop of love to quench their thirsty souls. Will they look for the relief among those who have the living water, or look elsewhere because we just can’t seem to get along? Jesus has what people are truly longing for. Many can’t define the longing or who put it there. But we know—and we have the privilege of telling them! That’s the power of a woman’s words.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I want to be known as a woman who welcomes others. Show me someone today that needs an encouraging word or a hug—someone who needs to feel that she or he belongs.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Flip through the New Testament and notice how many times Jesus initiated conversations. Here are two to get you started: Zaccheus in the tree, the Samaritan woman at the well.

More from the Girlfriends

CLICK HERE to sign up for Sharon’s FREE 5 DAY TAMING THE TONGUE CHALLENGE

Sharon’s re-released and updated version of her best-selling book and Bible study guide, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others are hot off the press. They include new content, including a chapter on the power of a woman’s words to her adult children…it’s complicated! Perfect for your women’s ministry’s next Bible study!

Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. Learn how to

  • exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
  • recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
  • overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
  • tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
  • stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold into the power of the Holy Spirit

6 Responses to “The Dancing Church”

  1. Beverley says:

    Thank you, Sharon, for these words. As I read, I knew where you were going, but when you expressed the truth that compared the local church to C.J.’s Beach Club, I still felt hot tears burn my eyes. I can say truthfully that there’s never been a church that welcomed me the way you described in your experience. I haven’t found a church that welcomed my family and me in even a similar way. That’s not to say that I haven’t gone to good churches. I have. And, I have made good friends there too. I think that you’re right when you say that non-Christians long for what they don’t know they need. As Christians, we long for the complete love and acceptance and glory that will be ours in Heaven. I know that I need to be careful to remember that we aren’t perfect yet.

    I’m sure there are reasons that this disconnect happens, but you’re right that we as Christians need to reach out because we know the truth of God. We need to exercise God’s love and compassion to others. My husband and I are leaving the city we’ve lived in for many years because we’re retiring to another place. While God has given me many opportunities to serve Him here, I am asking Him to show me what’s next. We have felt His leading in this move, and He knows our hearts. We both want to continue to do His will. Beyond this, though, I really want to extend His love and His truth in equal measure. He’s been growing me for a new purpose, I believe.

    Thank you and Gwen and Mary for the sound devotionals that you post here. They speak to me often and encourage me on my way.

    Thank you,
    Beverley

  2. Jennifer says:

    This was so good & unfortunately the example is reflective of many people’s experiences. About 20 years ago my grandmother, (who was not a church attender) went a huge church with a friend for Easter service She fell down a step and broke her ankle. Who minister to her? No one from the church. It was all the people from the bar that she managed. They were the ones bringing her food and checking up on her etc. It reminds me of the old song upside down by 4him. I think the church needs to make sure they have a lot of margin in their life where they have time to reach out to others and minister without it being on the schedule or being planned… Leave time to hear the spirit speak and lead and then act.

  3. Constance says:

    Well said Sharon! We, the body of Christ are guilty as charged. It is truly heartbreaking to observe and experience the indifference of Christians. Most churches have morphed into exclusive social clubs.

    I think a positive aspect of the current social distancing mandate is that the Church now has no walls. We have been given the opportunity to “go into the world and preach the gospel to everyone …” What a breath of fresh air – no walls and no pews. What an opportunity for Christians to begin interacting with each other with love, vulnerability and compassion as Jesus intended when He built His Church! May the Church listen, say “Amen” and obey as God speaks to us.

  4. Deborah says:

    Human beings are relational beings! I believe that as the Lord Jesus had brought us into our spiritual families, He wants us to care for others and be there for them like we do to our earthly family members. People should be happy when going to church and not be pushed out of the church by our cold attitude to them, christians ought to be accommodating, “More than door-to-door canvassing, modern facilities, or the latest media-savvy services, relationships are the net that brings in a bounty of souls.”
    I pray that the Lord Jesus shall grant us the grace to be women that welcomes others. Amen.

  5. Pam says:

    I love these devotionals. Enjoyed Dancing devotional very much! God bless you all.

  6. I loved “The Dancing Church”. Yes I moved to North Myrtle Beach and grew up in North East TN. All I have learned “The Shag” was born here in North Myrtle Beach.
    Several things I really get from this devotion.

    1. How we as Christians judge others. For going into a “place like that”. My heart hates that. I believe that we have the liberty in Christ to go in and to dance. I do not feel unless we are causing someone to stumble we have that freedom.

    2. There were many drinks advertised.
    I know I will get flack for this. I do not have an issue with that. Do not be a drunkard. But there is no reason to be ashamed of a mixed drink. Now I come from a Southern Baptist Preacher’s home and my daddy would scold me for that if he had not been called home.

    3. You were in a place that gave you the opportunity to share Jesus in a way that was on the level that wS comfortable for the group to receive. Reminds me of Paul in Acts 22 and 23.
    You did not consider yourselves higher than these people. You did not look down on them because they were at a coastal beach stomping place. You joined them where they were.

    4. If only we as Christians stopped and made not only those that visit our church feel welcome but those that live next door. We are called to be salt and light where we are. Not optional.

    I hope you danced!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8