In running the term “chicked” means that a male runner has been passed by a female runner. I’m comfortable enough in my running these days that a woman passing me during a race doesn’t bother me. It’s happened in each of the half-marathons that I’ve run. Part because sometimes I go out too fast and part because I’m just an average runner and there are women runners who are much faster than me. However this post has nothing to do with running.
On Thursday, I had a unique situation happen to me. It just so happened that Pam had a similar experience on Thursday. Thursday I was working at my bi-vocational job when a group came in. They sort of straggled in, so at first I didn’t realize that they were all together, but after a few minutes you could tell they were all together. Most of them wore t-shirts with the name of their church silk-screened on them. I really didn’t think much about it, because we have lots of church groups and Christian schools come through our restaurant – it’s the nature of the business. They ordered their food and sat down to eat. I waited on several of them at the counter and the transactions were very normal.
Now if you’ve ever been to our place of business, you know the desserts are worth saving the room for. I mean who can resist a hand-spun milkshake or a warm chocolate chunk cookie? After this group ate their food, they came back up to order desserts. They paid for the food and I handed one of them the change and that’s when I was “chick”ed. Without a word, the man handed me a tract – we hadn’t had any conversation other than to complete the transaction. I was a bit put off by what had just happened (especially as a pastor.) I took a step back and asked myself “what just happened?” I suppose I shouldn’t question another’s evangelism method, but it struck me as strange to simply conduct a business transaction and then hand me a gospel tract without even engaging me in any conversation at all. I almost felt like he thought “let me evangelize that pagan,” even though he knew nothing about me.
One of the things I love about my bi-vocational job is that we are encouraged to be relational. We are encouraged to get to know our guests and create personal connections with them. I love doing that. That’s what struck me as strange. This gentleman had no desire to engage me in conversation or to develop an emotional connection with me. For one, if he would have struck up a conversation with me, he would have known that I was a pastor and that a have a deep relationship with Jesus. It would have been a chance for mutual encouragement. We have those conversations all the time at my job. There are guests who love to talk about their faith and I have had some great conversations with them. Here is the point. We’ve have taken the time to get to know each other.
I felt as though the man who handed me the tract, simply was looking to fulfill his obligation of evangelism – I felt used. I didn’t check to see if my fellow team members experienced the same thing, but I can guess that maybe they did.
Evangelism is important. If it wasn’t, Jesus wouldn’t have commanded us to go into every nation, making disciples and teaching them to obey all of God’s commands. However, I believe Jesus wasn’t really into “hit-and-run” evangelism. We need to take the time to get to know people.
Like I said at the beginning, Pam had a similar experience on Thursday. She came out of the grocery store and found a tract on the windshield of our van. Again there was no relationship building – only a shot-in-the-dark. I suppose that they get some return for their investment. But what if we take the time to really tell people about Jesus and then mentor them into a genuine relationship with Jesus that grows into something beautiful. Just imagine what difference that would make.
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Trinity Sunday (May 26, 2013)
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
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Hello my name is……
The other weekend James kept singing the song Hello My Name Is by Matthew West. It is a song that talks about those words that we let describe us. We all have to words that people have used to describe us; some of them are good and some of the them have broken us too. We sometime let them control our lives and let them make us who we are too. Sometimes Satan uses them to keep us down and it hinder us becoming the person God what us to be. Satan knows the best time to attack us. As a Christian we need to remember that those names should not bond us.
I know this is truly hard to do sometimes. When I was in second grade I was diagnosed with learning disabilities. In the generation before me, those with disabilities would be institutionalizing because it was thought they could not be taught. I was raised in a world were I was taught that I was dumb, stupid and etc. My parents were told that I would never graduate from high school. Hmm, amazing, not only do I have a high school diploma but a college degree.
These names even followed me when I was in college; my mother went to a garage sale at my sixth grade teacher’s home. When my teacher recognized my mother, she told my mother “I was the dumbest student she ever had.” There are times that Satan comes around and reminds me of those names. Usually they come at time of great loss – like my mom’s death several years ago and now my father’s death. Then there are the time when I am under great stress – which at time is part of ministry and being a pastor.
These are the times when Satan likes to whisper those words in my ears – words spoken long ago – words that haunted me for years. For some, they think Christians can’t go through these times, but just check out the Psalms. David struggled at times.
It is in those times that we need to remember the words from the end of Matthew West’s song. These are promises that come from the heart of God’s word.
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King
It is at those moments that I have to lean on God more for the strength to close my ears to Satan. I will always have my disabilities and will always have to struggle with Satan’s lies. But as a Christian I have the power of God to withstand Satan, because I am a child of the one true King.
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In the past three months, Dale and my life have changed. We have taken on new roles in our lives. In January our oldest daughter had our first grandchild. I have heard about how great grandchildren are but the moment I held Robert, I totally understood. When I held Robert, I did not have the responsibilities that I had with our children. I knew I had some responsibility for him but not his daily life. I could see how beautiful this child was. These verses from Psalm 139 came to mind at that moment.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
I never thought I would be that grandmother who wanted to show everyone pictures of my grandson. Even Dale does it. Yesterday, he walked up to a complete stranger at work and showed them a picture of Robert. Now, to be fair they had a two-month old in their arms. It just seems natural to share the joy with parents of an infant.
Not only have we become grandparents, but we now have a boomerang child. I have had friends whose children moved back home after college. Our daughter Anna graduated from college a couple of days ago. We are trying to guide her in this new phase of her life. One of the things we have tried to teach her is that any job is good to start with. Once she gets established she can look for the job that she really wants to do the rest of her life. This is going to be time of adjustment for all of us.
With both of these changes in our lives Dale and I are willing to do the best we can with God’s help.
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General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon writes, “We have all been grieving with the scenes from Moore, Okla. Wesleyan Emergency Relief is responding. Disaster work is done in stages. Officials in Moore have asked that no volunteers come for several more days as they are still in the search and rescue stage. The remaining stages include emergent, urgent, then rebuilding. Along with these are the mental health issues, as well.”
Read more here
At this time, we are recommending that you NOT send clothing, food, water, etc. Needs are rapidly changing and everything can be purchased nearby.
Funds, however, have immediate impact. Funds for everything that will be needed may be sent to WERF (Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund) electronically or by mail. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to the disaster (nothing is deducted for overhead costs).
Rev. Wayne MacBeth, executive director of Communication and Administration, identified our “first stage” goal of $50,000 of relief aid. He said, “If God has blessed you as you end this fiscal year with available funds, this would be a wonderful way to reach out and help others who are literally struck down. We have three Wesleyan churches in the area, but beyond those church families, we want to help anyone in need in that area. Thank you for whatever you can do!”
And, please be steadfast in prayer that God would draw near to the broken-hearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. With God, we can help, but only He can bind up many of the wounds.
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People, young and old, are seeking to find a refuge of silence, simplicity, and a sense of otherness, something bigger than themselves. Worship is where we as individuals leave our other loves and come together to share our common first love.
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All of us have a race to run towards our appointed end. So we are all “on the way.” You are a traveler in this life. Everything goes past you and is left behind. You notice a flower on the way, or some grass, or a stream, or something worth looking at. You enjoy it for a moment, then pass on. Maybe you come on stones or rocks or crags or cliffs or fences, or perhaps you meet wild beasts or reptiles or thorn bushes or some other obstacles. You suffer briefly then escape. This is what life is like. Pleasures do not last but pain is not permanent either. (Basil)
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