Mosaic Update

Finally, a good report about Mosaic.  If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that our Wednesday night ministry to students had hit some serious speed bumps.  I was excited when I got to church tonight to find eight messages on the answering machine.  Several of these messages translated into multiple students attending.  When we gathered them all in 15 showed up along with seven of the finest student ministry volunteers you will find, for a whopping total of 22 (This is a major Praise the Lord!)  I really hoping our student ministry is back on track.  Not to say that all went well, because they were wired tonight, especially one girl on the ride home.

I also thank God for His traveling mercies — we had severe thunderstorms in the area while we were picking up students.  God kept us safe.  As an added bonus, we had a “make your own sundae” night that the students really enjoyed.  I am praying that the good response to Mosaic continues.  Seize the Day!

From a Friend

One of my pastor friends sent this to me this morning.  He pastors a Wesleyan church to the west of here and is part of the southern cluster of the Shenandoah District.  Be encouraged by these thoughts inspired by Isaiah 40:27-31:

27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Do you sometimes question your relationship with God?  This doesn’t mean that you are questioning your salvation. Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where we do not feel like doing things. Maybe we are overwhelmed with temptation. Some days we just feel lazy. Other times we have a dislike towards something that someone has done. It is easy to get loaded down with the cares of this world. But as Isaiah says, we gain new strength when we leave those things in the hands of the Lord. We can’t base our faith on feelings. We can’t base our relationship with Christ on how we feel from day to day. We get tired, we feel resentment at times, sometimes we wonder why are we even bothering. Are you in an area of ministry that seems dry? Are you going through a trial that is taking everything out of you? Wait on the Lord and He will renew your strength.

Music Monday

Today, I’m going to share a clip from our District Conference Power Rally.  Rebecca recorded it from her digital camera.  The video is a bit shaky, so I apologize.  This is a great thought — “Lord, You are good and your mercy endures forever!”

Sunday Night Thoughts

This was our first Sunday following District Conference.  As I mentioned earlier this week, we had a great time and I just learned that Dr. Anthony Graham will be back next year to preach.  He is a dynamic preacher who also pastors a church in Brooklyn, NY.  In addition to all that, our District Superintendent came today for his annual visit.  I introduced Rev. Greg Reynolds as my pastor and as their district pastor.  He confirmed that that’s what he liked to be called at our board meeting following worship.  Pastor Greg brought a great message (unfortunately the CD didn’t record — I have no idea why) from Luke11:33-36.  The key idea was make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.

Following worship, the normal procedure is for the DS to meet with the board and we did that.  Afterward, our pastor took our family out for lunch.  He asked what was available in Martinsville and the kids replied, “Mexican, Mexican, and Mexican.”  We do have an abundance of Mexican restaurants in Martinsville, so it was Mexican for lunch.  One of the things I appreciate about Pastor Greg is that he is a PK (or Pastor’s Kid.)  While we were at lunch, he goofed around with our kids.  He especially enjoyed teasing the girls about dating other PK’s in the district.  He had Anna and Rebecca going pretty good.  One of the funniest moments was when Pastor Greg asked what time it was.  He had a pastoral installation at 6:00 PM.  Rebecca said, “It’s time for you to go.”  It was so funny and we all got a laugh out of it including Pastor Greg.  I love Pastor Greg’s heart for the pastor’s kids.  He also has a heart for the children and teens across the district.  He spent several days at both our Children’s Camp (complete with a pie in the face) and our Youth Camp.

It was a fairly short afternoon, and this evening we took a diversion from our Beatitudes study and looked at Romans 8:12-25.  If you want to see where I was going with it, take a look here. It’s time to wrap this up, so have a great week.

Worship Recap

July 20, 2008
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Welcome
Call to Worship
Psalm 139:1-12; 23-24
Invocation
Song of Worship
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (Perronet/Holden)
District Conference Report
Songs of Worship
Days of Elijah (Mark); Here I Am to Worship (Hughes)
Worship through Prayer
Worship through Giving
Song of Worship
The Solid Rock (Mote/Bradbury)
Worship through God’s Word Pastor Greg Reynolds
Song of CommitmentSpirit of the Living God (Iverson)
Benediction

Prayer Warriors

Today I was driving home from dropping off Dale at work. I was thinking about what happens when a prayer warrior dies. I know my mother was a prayer warrior for us kids. The rug in her bedroom was worn where she knelt to prayer for us. Even when we were older, she kept praying for us — not only us but for our churches. Her view was that our ministries were a part of their ministry. Since my mother’s death, several of us kids have experienced storms that we have never experienced before. Perhaps it is because a faithful prayer warrior has died and the hedge of protection that was around us is gone. All the more reason to surround our families and our churches with prayer.

Weekly Lectionary Readings

Proper 11 (16)
July 20, 2008

Genesis 28:10-19; Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

I don’t know why, but this scripture really stuck out at me this morning. It is from the 8th chapter of Romans.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[f] including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[g] for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

One of my favorite musical artists is Kerry Livgren. If you don’t know the name, you may know his songs; “Dust In the Wind,” and “Carry On, O Wayward Son.” Kerry was one of the founding members of the band Kansas. It’s been many years since he left Kansas. Beyond Kansas, he formed a band called AD and then has recorded quite a few solo albums. Yes, I know they are CD’s now, but there are still albums to me. A theme that occurs in some of his post-Kansas writing is this groaning — that this present world is not all there is — there is more to come. I think of the song “All Creation Sings.” Creation is eagerly awaiting the coming day. The title track of “When Things Get Electric” also references this groaning. Kerry even references the groaning like the pains of childbirth. The scripture also references “Glorious Freedom,” which is a song of our holiness heritage. Paul even alludes to the fact that we can have freedom from sin through the Holy Spirit.

I like what Paul says a little earlier:

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[a] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,[b] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[c] of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.[d] Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”[e] 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

The freedom from sin that God gave us is available right here and right now. Paul reminds us we have no obligations to do what our sinful nature tells us to do. What child who loves her mother or father would constantly disobey them? The same thing happens in our Christian walk. If we love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, why would we want to disobey him? We are his children — we have been adopted into his family. This allows us to share in his glory and as Paul reminds us, we also share in his suffering. Blessings….

Trailblazer

My niece is graduating with her masters this summer. I very proud of her and how far she has gone in her studies. Rebecca and I were talking about all the girls on my side of the family that have gone to college and gotten degrees. Rebecca reminded me that I was the first female in my family to go to college and get a degree besides a Mrs. Degree. The one thing that we noticed was that all the girls (cousins) in the family who did go to a four-year college, none of them are married yet. I did get my Mrs. Degree after I graduated from college so there is still hope for the female college grads in my family.

Mosaic Update

Tonight, we returned to Mosaic after a two week break.  It seems that maybe the break did us good.  While only four students had called before we left, we checked on two and one came and then while we were picking up the rest, one more called.  When we got back to church several had gotten rides.  We had a total of 13 students tonight, which is the best we have had in months.  If you count the staff, there were 19.  This is a major praise.  We had a time of worship and then I brought a devotional from Ephesians 2.  It seems the youth camp and being at the rally on Sunday night has made a difference.  After the devotional, we sent them out to get wet — what better thing to do on a warm summer evening.  Pam and I and another staffer, got busy making tater tots and Baby Bam’s.  It’s a recipe from an Emril cookbook for kids.  Sort of like a slider (think White Castle) but much tastier.   I think they were a little big, because I didn’t get as many burgers as I thought I would.  Next time I’ll use a 1/4 cup as a measure.

It was a great night and hopefully a return to a more normal Mosaic.  Carp Diem!