Tuesday, October 30, 2007

a family wedding

I just returned from a family wedding. This was from Beverly's side of the family so there were alot of people who were unfamiliar to me. Still, I concluded this weekend that family weddings are a good thing!

*They provide a time for families to come together; we live scattered apart from one another and this provides an opportunity to "catch up" with members of the family we don't get to see very often.

*The insitution of marriage is being diminished by today's pundits so our presence at a wedding affirms its importance to us!

*Weddings provide a format for us to remember the marriage vows we made to each other--however long ago--and to "renew" them in our own minds.

When the next family wedding comes around and you are less than excited about attending, remember the values to be rediscovered!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

what makes a great worship service,,,?

I would like to bottle up what we shared last Sunday in our worship service and have a drink of it each week because it was a great worship experience. Why? Let me share a few observations...

1. We shared Communion. Someone said to me that Communion challenges us to be honest about our walk with God and opens us in a unique way to the Holy Spirit's gentle tug is His direction.

2. We sang loudly. There is something about opening our hearts ad voices unto the Lord and lifting our praises full voice to the heavens. There were a few moments Sunday when we actually did that together as a body!

3. We participated in the message. There were verbal "amen's" and other directed interactive expressions throughout the message that made it come alive in our reactions and responses.

4. We prayed together--some before church, many during church and some in small groups after church. There was a special awareness of God's divine presence.

5. We shared together. After church there were fellowship pockets all over the sanctuary, in addition to the refreshment area. People were conecting with one another in a loving way, not unlike that suggested by our text in Philippians 2:1-4.

It was the Word of God in action, our lives an outward expression of the inward affirmation of the truth of God's word.

Let's take another drink from that bottle as we come to church on Sunday and truly worship together once again.

I can't wait...can you?

Monday, October 15, 2007


I like order in my life. Paul adds a postcript to his I Corinthians teaching regarding the operation of the gifts in the body of Christ when he says "...everything should be done in a fitting and orderly manner..." I find comfort in those words because confusion and disorder hamper me since I am a perfectionist by nature. Throw in a little impatience and you can see what drives me crazy!

So...we are experiencing disorder in our home. We are having some repair work done following a seemingly "harmless" water leak in our refrigerator's ice maker connection and our kitchen has been pretty much unusable with much more work yet to be done!

And company is coming for the weekend.

I am having to learn to step back, take a deep breath, and to remember there are alot worse things that could happen to me than what is happening at 282 California Drive. A neighbor fell and broke her wrist and is experiencing severe pain and reordering of her personal schedule. Another friend recently lost his home and has moved into a rental. Still another friend is dealing with horrific challenges at work that would be enough to throw anyone into a funk.

So I can survive this season of disorder.

But I am glad that our God is a God of order, and that He gives grace to handle life when it isn't as orderly as we wished it was!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Men can sing!

I returned late Saturday evening from our Men's retreat--the rest would be coming home Sunday afternoon. There were 35-40 of us together for part of three days and what is still ringing in my ears is the sound of men singing!

Men can sing!

I felt as if I were surrounded by angels lifting their voices in praise to God. The sounds were unrestrained yet amazingly musical and beautiful. I imagined that this must be something like heaven, where people are pictured in Revelation as gathered together and singing, "To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever." That group is described as "every creature in heaven and earth and under the earth, and on the sea, and all that is in them...", a significantly larger group than our Men's Retreat!

Men can sing!

Even though we were relatively few in number, we sang uninhibited and unaware of anyone around us. We sang from our hearts--our work and worries a distant memory for the moment.

I am wishing today that I was back here in that setting, my heart and mind fixed on worshipping Jesus. Though I am back in my office--saddled by the work of the day--I can still sing!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

prayer, the first resort

Two days ago I was wrestling with some real issues in ministry and starting to worry about what path of direction I could identify for resolution. And then it hit me...I need to pray.

And I did.

Yesterday I sent out e-mails to about 30-40 church families inviting them to join me at noon today for a time of prayer at the church for these issues that are confronting our church family. Several responded that they would pray at work, or, at home, and a handfull showed up for the prayer time today. I felt that corporately as a body we needed to pray.

And we did.

But there was just a few of us. When it comes to prayer, that is how it usually is--just a few. There are probably some excellent reasons why at short notice people could not clear their schedules to join us for prayer at ther lunch break, but even when it is on the calendar for weeks, the response is pretty much the same.

Why is it that prayer meetings draw such a small crowd?

My experience is that prayer is most intensively pursued in a crisis, but even then, as a last resort. Once other alternatives have been exhausted, we think to pray. Maybe it is because of what we think--or don't think--about prayer.

I am convinced as we face the issues before us at our local church that the ONLY answer is prayer..and that prayer should be the first resort when we face challenges such as we are.

It may taken an even graver crsis for us to learn that.