Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pastor Appreciation Month

October is Pastor Appreciation Month,  I am not soliciting support or comments. I feel deeply loved and appreciated by my church family whom I have the privilege of swerving.

For my church family, may I encourage you to let Pastor Mark, Pastor Logan and Pastor Christian know some way how much you appreciate their ministry in this season of transition.

Here are some ideas of how you might do that...

*a personal note

*a gift card to a restaurant or entertainment venue

*a dinner at your place

*a face-to-face comment and word of encouragement on a Sunday morning

*a volunteering to "babysit" so they can go out

*an evening together not talking about church

*a phone call expressing your thanks

Pick one of these and find a way to let one or all three of these families know how much you aprpeciate them!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Third world realities

Water is a precious commodity.  I've learned that from my frequent trips to Haiti where clean water is a rarity.

Hot water is a luxury.  Cold showers punctuate that forgotten trtuh.

With a  burst hot water heater we are making some minor adjustments and many of them revolve around water...or...the lack of hot water.  Tasks like washing dishes, taking showers, washing our    hair--things we have always taken for granted--now seem to have increased in value.

We have remarked in between short spells of whining that this is not like a third world country where the hope for clean water does not stand as a certainty at week's end.  We know we will have hot water by Friday.

In the meantime, all of our water is clean.

Third world realities are different than ours even when we are for a moment inconvenienced.  We are remembering that this week when we are tempted to complain.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Ups" and "Downs"

I left for Haiti September 1st with a lot of uncertainty about what was ahead for us in this rescheduled shortened trip.  As we headed up into the sky from Sacramento International; Airport towards Port au Prince my apprehensions were quickly replaced with excitement as I thought about the great opportunities God was providing me to serve Him in a place to which He clearly called me to several years before.

As we descended down into Haiti, i was hit with a rush of heat and the noise of whirling fans in the terminal.  For just a  moment as I saw the people and remembered we had now been transported into the heart of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, just for a moment I asked myself, "What am I doing here?"

In a matter of moments my eyes were lifted up in the direction of a familiar voice and a smiling face--Gilbert had come to take us to his home.  All of a sudden there was a surge of joy and an affirmation of what made me come to Haiti in the first place.  It was that conversation when Gilbert said to me and a fellow pastor over two years ago, "We need someone to teach our pastors the Word of God".

In the few days we were there I spoke four times--three times with groups of church leaders who were struggling to get along.  Yes, even in Haiti the devil is at work to divide the church. It was encouraging to see those leaders embracing one another and seeking to move forward in a spirit of unity and harmony.

On September 6th I said "good-bye" to Gilbert, and along with my friend, Mark, headed back to California.  On the plane trip home, I talked  myself down--"And I am coming back inNovember?  I'm not sure I can do this again."  I wrestled with the allurement of thecomforts of home , the enticement of retirement, the desire to do something safer and easier.

On Sunday, September 9th I stood before my congregation with my heart lifted up by the groundswell of support my church family verbalized for our ministry in Haiti.  Once again I acknowledged in my heart the true joy there comes from serving God in spite of the "ups" and "downs" of it. Isn't that just like life?