I honestly cannot look back at my early years of Christianity and not think of Christ's Church of the Valley when it was located on Lark Ellen in West Covina. It's the church I grew up in, I discovered Christ in, I met some incredible friends in, and where I deepened my relationship with Jesus.
The very first time I went to church was with my sister, Steffanne. In was in February of 1990 on a Sunday night. I recall walking through the doors before the service started and thinking, "I like it here." I don't know what caught my attention. It was just a feeling of belonging, even though I hadn't officially met anyone yet.
I only went on Sunday night's for a while. TRW, or Totally Radical Worship, was on Wednesday nights, and I believe they were going through the book of Revelations, and that scared the ibby-jibbees out of me, so I opted for Sunday nights. March 18, 1990, I was baptized, and so began my journey with Jesus.
One of the things I loved about CCV was the worship. I would get lost in songs like, "Awesome God" or "Our God Reigns" and "Sweet Jesus". I would kneel or raise my hands with complete abandon. I just remember feeling so alive when the lights would dim and we'd worship the Lord.
It would be impossible to bypass the teaching, too. Chuch Booher would preach on Wednesday nights (when I started going). It was awesome because he would encourage us to live like Jesus called us to. He taught on many topics like, "The 15 Non-Negotiables of a Mate" and living pure lives. He'd dig deeper on Jesus' life and challenge us to read the Bible and pray. He'd make me laugh, cry, and whoop with excitement. One of the reasons I had so much respect for Chuck was because he'd call people out if they were messing around during his sermon. And there were a lot of us kids, too! I'm talkin' hundreds!
I've posted already about the people in my life when I first became a Christian, but they are still worth mentioning. John Greg, Joanne Long, Chris Harbit, Patrick Mesker, Julie Storlie, Jesse Stiles, Ronda Stewart, and so many others came along side me and walked with road with me. We'd talk about Jesus, pray to Him, and worship together outside of church. We'd do fun things together and spend loads of time laughing.
I'm so grateful for this church and how blessed I was to grow up attending it! My prayer is my kids will get the same kind of opportunity I had. But to be honest, CCV was and still is a rare commodity. I'm so very thankful for the foundation this church helped me lay!
What about you? How did your church shape who you are today? Leave a comment!