Monday, October 13, 2014


{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

There’s one thing that is making my Mondays significantly more enjoyable lately, and it’s the women’s Bible study that I’m doing with my church.  We just started Beth Moore’s newest study, “Children of the Day,” which is on 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and I’m loving it!  

75+ women are gathering weekly to study Thessalonians.  <3 this community!

And that brings me to today’s topic: my wonderful church.

We’ve been attending Reality Santa Barbara for almost four years, and it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.  (I have been fortunate to be a part of several great churches in my life, so please know that this post is not meant to downplay any other church I’ve been a part of, both in Santa Barbara and elsewhere!)

The first day we went to Reality, I remember looking around the room and saying to Joe, “Everyone here is so beautiful!”  It was actually a bit of an insecure statement, because I seriously thought I must’ve stuck out like a sore thumb in a crowd of very attractive people.  But while I was commenting on the physical appearance of the congregation, I think what really caught my attention was how friendly and full of life everyone was!  I didn’t notice anyone sitting alone, or anyone looking sad or angry or even indifferent – it seemed like EVERYONE was happy and excited to be there.  

Before we started going to Reality, I didn’t have any close female friends in Santa Barbara.  And within just a few weeks, we were plugged into a community group and I had met a couple of incredible women who made me feel so welcomed right away!  And even though those first few amazing girlfriends have sinced moved out of state, I have continued to be blessed with new connections and friendships through our church, and especially through becoming more involved in the women’s ministry over the past year.  (Man, I could devote a whole post to how much I love the women’s ministry at Reality!)

These are a few ladies I met through a community group at Reality
seriously some of the sweetest people ever!

The preaching pastors at Reality are truly ordained by God, and they don’t shy away from difficult topics or controversial Bible passages.  I have been more challenged, encouraged, and inspired by the last four years of sermons at Reality than any other time in my life!  Chris Lazo has been the preaching pastor at our campus (there are two other campuses – Carpinteria and Ventura) for the last year and a half or so, and I love how passionate he is about the Bible and about conveying the message in a fresh way while staying true to what it says.  We just recently started a series called “The Good Life” which will cover the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and it’s going to go all the way into next summer – because Lazo gets into the nitty gritty and breaks it down verse by verse!  

And then there’s the worship.  This church loves to worship God through music, and we’re blessed with some incredibly talented musicians who have a passion for leading the congregation into worship in a genuine and meaningful way.  Reality is the first church I’ve attended where I felt like the worship team was very intentional about “getting out of the way.”  What I mean is, there is never anyone front and center on stage during worship; everyone is positioned on the sides of the stage, so that all you see in the center is the lyrics to the songs.  It definitely helps me to stay focused on worshipping rather than getting distracted by noticing the worship team members’ mannerisms or outfits.  

I also love that we always have time set aside for worship before AND after the message.  I think Lazo preached once about why Reality does worship the way it does, and he said something like, “We worship in the beginning to prepare our hearts to receive a message.  Then we take time right after the message to worship the Lord in thanks for what we just learned.”  Isn’t that awesome?

Of all the things I love about Santa Barbara, Reality is the one I will definitely have the hardest time saying goodbye to if/when Joe and I ever move away.  It’s rare to find a church home that feels 100% like home, isn’t it?  (Hashtag: blessed!)

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