Every year for Thanksgiving my family and I go to West Virginia to spend time with my mom’s side of the family. The five-hour drive there can be tough, but the reward is always there. You need to know that it was in West Virginia that I truly saw faith come alive. No, there wasn’t a CIY (Christ In Youth) event, a revival, or even a worship band. In the small community of Cicerone, West Virginia, a big movement of God came out.
My grandpa, which I call PawPaw, is a great farmer and father. He is great at a lot of things but nothing compares to how great his faith is. If he isn’t sleeping, then he is talking about the “book”, which is the Bible. One of my friends once asked him what his favorite Bible verse was and he responded, “66 books; 1,189 chapters; 31,173 verses; 773,692 words. That is my favorite verse.” He attends church more nights of the week that he spends at home. PawPaw has a supernatural ability to start a conversation with anyone, then turn that conversation to talk about Jesus. I have watched him countless times talk to a complete stranger about Jesus and watch how my giddy grandpa puts a smile on their face. The best way I can accurately describe him is a faith legend.
While I was in West Virginia, I got to help lead worship at Cicerone Community Church. PawPaw helps pastor this community and I remember going there in the heat of summer, and all I had for cooling was a fan made out of a popsicle handle and a piece of heavy paper. PawPaw’s church still has outhouses, wood-fire heat, and a single piano for an instrument. There aren’t over 100 people with a lighting kit and full subsystem. Cicerone Community Church doesn’t have a website or a social media presence. Any service can have 5-25 people.
What I do know is that there is a community in Cicerone, West Virginia that is truly seeking the will of the Spirit. It might not be perfect. The service may run over an hour. The people are not perfect in any way, but I’ve never seen a church that is perfect. They are seeking after God in a way that lets the Spirit lead.
I got to relive some old hymns like How Great Thou Art, Blessed Assurance, and Amazing Grace. There were only 15 people in the service including me, but that didn’t matter. It didn’t matter the number of people, the size of the church, the name of the preacher, and definitely the name of the worship leader. The only presence that mattered was God’s.
Jesus cares about your heart. He is willing to enter any situation, anywhere, at any time. We are told in the Psalms that there is nowhere we can go to escape from his presence. A small church in West Virginia has the same presence as the megachurch in New York. What God can do in the megachurch, God can do in the country church.
There is no big task that God cannot take on, yet it is often in the small that reveals God personal love for us. If you ever get the chance to see what God is doing in the small churches, I would invite you to invest in them–not as an act of pity, but as a recognition of our big God.
My grandpa has developed his faith in small country churches, and he is one of the most outspoken, Godly people I know. A Spirit-filled life must start with the Spirit. The Spirit is not bound by a feeling but revealing itself through other lives.
In our daily efforts to live Godly lives, it takes faith to see God in the small. Step up and step out to be a Christian that doesn’t look at what the world focuses on. Rather, holding on to the God who works through the weak to show his strength. A God who works through the small to show how big he is. A God who casts out fear in order to allow peace into our hearts.
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For Your Name is my name and my name for Your Glory,
Forever and Ever, Amen.