Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The body of Christ meets in other places than your church...

I have had the privilege in this season of semi-retirement to visit other churches.  it has been a great informative experience for me.  From a small church in Fountain Valley, Arizona to a large mega church in Folsom, California I have learned some important lessons.

1.  The size of the church does not define the quality of worship.

2.  A large church may actually be growing for the right reasons.

3.  A church may be flourishing even though its numbers are small.

4.  The message preached as long as it is consistent with the truth of God's Word, has impact.

5.  The church has value in the community as it fulfills its divine mandate for ministry.

From large volume performance-driven bands (or so it seemed) to more traditional worship teems (sometimes boring), when my personal "taste" preferences were laid aside I was able to worship God when that was my singular focus.

It's a good thing.

When we get to heaven all that will matter is that we are there, surrounded by people from every tribe and tongue, with every kind of musical instrument and percussion system--there to worship God, the product of our common bond through the grace of the gospel extended to us.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the wonderful world of grandchildren

Eleven grandchildren.  The Old Testament talks about a "full quiver"  I guess we have that.

A "full quivcr" of what?

 Q-UESTIONS--it's important to reveal the hidden truth--we don't know everything.  But grandchildren have inquiring minds and will ask an incredible range of questions about things that only time reveals may not be answered!  When we have the right answer, we are instant heroes and established points of reference!

U-NLIMITED POTENTIAL--it's immediately apparent in each of our eleven grandchildren that they have the capacity to accomplish great things if they will take advantage of the opportunities afforded them.  We watch them play soccer, basketball, hockey, mountain bike, dance, ride horses, play instruments, recite poetry, ride skate boards, act, sit in church, read aloud, quote memorized scripture verses...and we are amazed at what they can already do...and wonder what will they do.

I-NDIVIDUALITY--it's challenging to take note of how different each of the eleven are.  Some compliant, some strong-willed.  Some social, some more content to be alone.  Some artistic, some athletic.  Some book-worms, some "outdoorsy".  Some expressive, some quiet.  Some a combination of all of the above, depending on the situation.  But all special in their own unique way.

V-ITALITY--it's like they never get tired.  They start early in the morning and go strong until their batteries wear down at night.  Even then, they fall asleep unintentionally and have to be carried to their beds.  But throughout the day you can see it--this spark of life and freshness, and innocence fed by every new experience they encounter as they discover the world around them.-

E-FFORT--it's exciting to see how kids keep trying.  I watched one of my grandchildren try an aggressive move on the skateboard ten times in a row, falling several times,  until he got it.  And then he did it again just to make sure he got it!  Some of our grandchildren have memorized lengthy poems for school, reciting the lines hundreds of time until they get them perfectly.  Our seven year old recited a poem perfectly that I think had sixteen complicated stanzas.  He recited it aloud three times just int he few days I was with him, practicing until he perfected it.  The kids throw the baseball back and forth hundreds of times, , practice moves on their hockey skates, play repetitive scales on their instruments--this and much more with great discipline and effort.  It's just part of growing up, I guess.

R-ESILIENCE--it's soon to be learned that you can't win every game, finish first in every race,  get straight A's every report card, have everybody like you all the time, avoid conflict, obey all the rules perfectly, complete every assignment on time--sooner or later their humanity appears and they are forced to confront it--often emotionally, even tearfully.  But give them a  few minutes.  they are resilient, and in a matter of time they will reappear, ready to go at life again with a smile of anticipation.

The wonderful world of grandchildren is only surpassed by the wonderful world of grandparents.  We get to stand by and watch, and, hopefully, give counsel and encouragement.  I love that role and look forward watching my grandchildren become all that god intends for them to be.

That's my prayer.  And I think my role is to be a participant in that process as God directs me.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

Two months later

It is hard to believe two months have passed since I officially retired from my role at Grace Fellowship Church.  Here are some observations two months later...

*We just completed an eighteen day break--a retirement reward we planned for ourselves--which included a stop at the Giant's spring training (four games), a trip to Sedona and Bev's first view of the Grand Canyon. We took our trailer and enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way.

*We have taken another step in our transition to San Luis Obispo, listing our house for sale this week,  This is a difficult step as we love Amador County but is part of our semi-retirement plan.  Eight grandchildren await us there!

*My counseling business is keeping me busy but my office lease expires June 1st; if we are still in the area I will be identifying another counseling/coaching setting.

*I continue to work for Hospice; this gives me great joy, though it is sometimes very taxing work.  I work just a  few hours each week but a provides a forum for me to utilize my pastoral training and is fulfilling for me.

*Our work in Haiti through TLC continues to grow.  I will be traveling there May 11-21, and again in August (joined by Logan) and November.  I have been recently certified to teach materials printed in French by BCTP (check out online) that will be very useful in our curriculum for our pastoral training institute.  Thanks to friends who helped provide $3500 for textbooks for our New testament Survey class. This is keeping me busy as teams traveled to Haiti in February and March, holding ten VBS's reaching over 3000 children, renovating a church-school and holding a leadership seminar for 225 pastors.

"How is retirement?" is a familiar question..  I remind my friends I am semi-retired BUT I am enjoying the freedom and discretionary time this season of life provides.

Thanks for your love and prayers; we are doing well!