God Is Hanging Around An Old Cigar Store In Downtown Abilene
God is hanging out in a former cigar shop at Cypress and Second in Downtown Abilene. I recognized His presence Sunday at the invitation of granddaughter Sarah Snider who invited Roberta and I to attend services at what is now The Well
I recognized it in the face of the young married couple with their family, stopping to greet us as we walked alone on the sidewalk, welcoming us to their church. I recognized it in the attitude of the homeless fellow who serves as the volunteer doorman. He never comes in, just opens and closes the door. It’s okay. He is in the right place.
I recognized it in the peace of the college kids who crowded the room, and in the young married and their kids, in the Dyess Air Force soldier there with his wife and children, in the joy of a half dozen Christian musicians who warmed up before the services started.
Pastor Austin Lawrence, 30ish, a fine speaker, is so committed to leading this congregation he at times appears almost tense as he searches to find just the right word, the right phrase, to express the precise meaning of his message. You meet him, you listen to him, you know he’s the real deal.
He and his fellow pastor leaders are obviously the main attraction to the young people who gather here, but there is more. They take solace in one another with true fellowship, gaining strength in their relationship with the Lord. They like the building, they like the atmosphere, they like basic, no frills worship.
The college kids fascinate me this Sunday morning, Sarah and the approximate 200 other students gathered here. Didn’t anyone tell them this is opening weekend of college, party time? Aren’t they supposed to be sleeping until noon, moping around groggy?
Here is what is going to happen if this trend continues to catch on among young people, and I think it is catching on. All hell is not going to break loose, all hell is going to break down.
It could well be the start of a tidal wave reversing the downward spiral of family destruction. Generations of families stuck on zero who believe they cannot pass GO, they can’t collect the $200, children who shiver in fear and insecurity, those who have broken lives and broken dreams, may get a chance after all.
The Well and such movements throughout our nation must thrive, and perhaps one day tots will get the break they deserve because mom and dad aren’t chasing a lifestyle that robs them of the energy, love and affection a kid needs.
The building was swarming with friendly, joyous people before and after the service. That has always seemed important to me. If God is really there, how can you be grumpy?
Just about 18 months ago the founding pastors conducted their first service at The Well with a scattering of followers. Last Sunday 540 congregants attended two services. A third service will be added shortly. God is hanging around that old cigar shop at Cypress and Second in Downtown Abilene.
Someone must have leaked the Word.