The beautiful Tampa First SDA Church in beautiful Tampa Florida.
Thursday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks a question, “What has been your own experience regarding Christian fellowship?” This question comes as close as I am going to get for an opportunity to share something. As of this Summer I have not missed a church service in twenty years! Sorry if it sounds like I am tooting my own horn, but I thought it was pretty cool and just wanted to share it.
Back in the mid 1990s Cal Ripken Jr. broke baseball’s record for most consecutive games played. His streak lasted 2,632 games from 1982 to 1998. Back when Ripken was breaking this record people were talking about other streaks that people had going in all facets of life. It got me to wondering what streak I might have going, and that’s when I realized I had not missed a church service since some time in the summer of 1989. I remember I was a Sabbath School teacher at the Owasso Seventh-day Adventist Church in Oklahoma. I was sick and had to call to have someone cover my class. That is the last time I have missed a church service. The closest I came to missing a church service since then was in 2000 or so when I was invited to Tulsa to speak for a vespers service at the First Tulsa Seventh-day Adventist Church. After I got to Tulsa on Friday from Fort Worth, a snow storm hit and First Tulsa cancelled their services for that Sabbath. Fortunately the South Tulsa Adventist Church was having services so I went there.
While serving as a Lay Pastor in Fort Worth I would often preach at two or three churches on the same Sabbath, which means I have actually attended more church services than there are Sabbaths for this time period. For example in 1995 I preached 73 times in 52 Sabbaths. It is also why I say I have not missed a church service in twenty years, because I have missed several Sabbath School classes due to the fact that I would be preaching at one church while the other church was having Sabbath School, thus getting two worship services but no Sabbath School for that Sabbath. Also I have preached in and attended both first and second church services at Tampa First on numerous occasions.
I am a statistics buff, so just for the sake of sharing useless trivial statistics, during this streak I have attended over 50 different churches in two countries and six different states. In addition to Adventists churches, I have also preached in and attended Seventh-day Baptist and Seventh-day Pentecostal churches during this period.
I praise God for my health. I rarely get sick and can count on one hand the number of sick days I have used in my entire work life. I thank God that He has always been there to cheer me and give me a good attitude. I seldom get discouraged. In 1998 my fiancé dumped me and the following Sabbath I did not feel like going to church, but made myself go anyway because I knew I needed Christian fellowship. That is the only Sabbath I ever remember not wanting to go to church because of discouragement.
I realize this streak does not make me a better Christian or person than anyone else. It’s just a piece of trivia I thought would be fun to share! Thanks for letting me share this with you.