From time to time, I blog about my faith here. I am really moving those posts over to my site where I talk about my faith, thoughts on liberty and other personal topics, A Believing Patriot. From time to time I will cross post here and since this post has to do with my SQL life and my Christian life (really, everything has to do with the latter, or it should at least) it makes sense to post here. As always, read on if you like, I won’t be offended if you choose not to and I hope you give me that same courtesy.

Away from home != Away from God

We jump on a plane, spend some time enjoying the company of some great people from the SQL Server community. We learn in sessions, learn through listening to chalk talks and questions in the pavilions and Ask The Experts lounge. We can even go to a vendor/community gathering or two and enjoy the company and networking with some great SQL Server resources.

But… As a Christian, I don’t want to leave my faith behind this year. I don’t want to let my witness lapse, let my time of fellowship lapse. I want to have the best time I’ve ever had at SQL PASS. That means I want to absorb as much knowledge, networking, socialization and fun as ever. But… In order to have the most fun as I’ve ever had, I long to spend some time with other Christians. With other people who are not only part of a SQL Server community but part of the body of believers, the family with Christ at the head.

So I will be going with my Bible (always travel for one: makes for good reading on the plane, good conversation starter at times and spending time with the Lord helps set the tone for each day), my knees (alright, a metaphor.. I pray standing,sitting and sometimes lying down.. never really kneeling) and a desire to hang out with other believers.

>= Bible & Prayer

(in number, not importance 🙂 )

As I was thinking about this, I was talking to some other people in the SQL community that I knew, or suspected, to be Christians. Why don’t we try and get together at PASS was the conclusion we came to together. So we started looking for places to meet to organize a prayer breakfast or get together. A few ideas of where to meet were shot down and we started deciding to sort of wing our meeting location or at least kept putting off finding the official location. We are mostly all going to have our Bibles and we’ll likely all be praying but now we will get to meet and worship together.

So having my Bible and Prayer is great but adding to it fellowship is even better. Glad the others agree.

Where Location IS NULL

So we don’t have a location at this time. I am going to check with the hotel I am at (Sheraton), look for a church downtown or some other location. Worse case scenario has us just meeting in a hotel lobby, someone’s hotel room, a corner (unofficially and not sponsored by PASS) of a lunch or breakfast room, etc.

Once we have a location I will either send out some tweets #passprayer, update this blog or send you an e-mail (add a comment below or send me an e-mail)

GROUP BY

We already have a handful of people interested and I believe that number will grow based on some comments from others. If you are interested in having some time of fellowship, a time to remember Christ while at a conference and a time to pray for those at the Summit then contact me and I will add you to our e-mail list.

CROSS JOIN

A really neat thing happened earlier this week. A praise-worthy event. As I was busy on other priorities, this kept falling lower on my radar. Well it was clearly high on God’s radar still. I received an e-mail from someone I definitely knew from SQL Community (one of the gurus out there who really knows SQL and PASS). He was given my name by someone else in the community who knew I was a Christian. This guy was looking to find other Christians to get together with at PASS and beyond to focus on Christ together while at the conference and beyond. It was a great e-mail to read, it had a personal story and testimony from this person and I could see his heart was reaching out to do the Lord’s work while staying strong in SQL.. Combining the two.. A Cartesian product of sorts 🙂

I eagerly replied and am really looking forward to meeting him and those he was reaching out to. Not because they are geniuses in the SQL field (though some are 🙂 ) but because they are people who are my brothers and perhaps sisters in Christ. They are people who I will get to spend all of eternity with, great to get to know some of them down here. They understand my work field as well which is great. We can discuss Scripture through SQL Server illustrations and work horror stories 😉 and combine our love for SQL Server and our love for Christ. Exciting indeed.

Execution Plan

We haven’t built an official structure to our get togethers. I see them as times of prayer, Bible Study and devotion. There are no rules and this isn’t some exclusive club. I can’t speak for everyone that I have talked to but we seem to agree on some basics… Anyone is welcome to join us, we aren’t looking to have a time of debating denominations, politics, etc. If you are a Christian or want to know more about what that means and meet some folks who are, you are welcome to join us.

I will say what I mean by Christian in a moment and I hope this helps set the tone and focus of these get togethers. I am one who believes in a Christ-Centered, Biblical Christianity, while anyone is welcome I hope to keep this focus in mind.

I have mentioned this in a few of my posts that are in the Bible category. I’ll be brief here, I define Christian as meaning:

I have realized and admitted I am a sinner, that I fall far short of the glory of God and His perfect will. It means I admit that I deserve what the Bible says the wages of my sin is: death (hell, separation from God’s love eternally). It means that I believe that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross exemplified God’s love to me (John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”). It means that I realize that I can’t meet the standard of Heaven and fellowship with God (Perfection is the only standard a holy and just God could demand, anything else would make Him a liar and no longer perfect in his nature and attributes). It means I believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He went there on my behalf, in fact He went there on behalf of anyone who puts their trust in Him. Doesn’t matter what sins you have committed, it doesn’t matter how far you think you are from God. The relationship with Christ has nothing to do with your actions but everything to do with his action when we died for you. Finally, it means I have applied His sacrifice to my life and trust Him and Him alone for my salvation and my eternity.

There are many benefits, many answers to prayer and countless testimonies to share with you but that is what it means to me to be a Christian. To be a follower of Christ and one whose sins are “covered” by His blood. I can have daily fellowship and closeness to the creator of this world and I will spend the rest of forever in a close relationship with Him.

It means I have received the gift of one of the most beautiful words in the dictionary: grace (unmerited favor)

Interested in meeting, talking, praying and having fun with us? Shoot me a note, send me a tweet. I really look forward to meeting you and please know that we’ll be praying for a great Summit this year for all attendees, regardless of faith or walk of life. I would love to be able to share my personal story with you and open a Bible with you. I am not going to push this on you, if you find me because of SQL Bingo, we’ll talk SQL and fun Summit stuff. If you ask about my faith, I’ll tell you. If you don’t want to hear about it, well I can’t promise it won’t slip out but I’ll respect your wishes and still have a great time getting to know you.

-mike

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