Wednesday Night Update

Running Update

It’s been several days (oops two weeks) since I last updated the widget on the side about my running.  Running training is going well.  I continue to run/walk at least 2.6 miles each time out — Monday I actually had 3.5 total miles with 2.6 of them running.  Looking forward to getting up to that 4 mile mark and then work on running the entire four miles.  At this point I can almost run one mile before giving out.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

Cooler Weather

Fall officially arrived last week and this week it really feels like it.  As I write it is 48 degrees going down to a low of 39.  We have had some cool mornings of late and while running on Tuesday afternoon — it was only 60 degrees with some wind and clouds.  I am looking forward to watching the leaves change — the Shenandoah Valley is so beautiful — I am amazed by the beauty of this place every day.

House Update

The house is progressing along — almost all the exterior work is complete (brick work) — They will be pouring sidewalks tomorrow 🙂  Next week they start working on at least part of the lawn.  Inside about half of the hardwood floor has been laid.  Everything is progressing very nicely.

Student Ministries

Tonight was one of my teaching nights off.  Every once and a while I get one of those.  We had 12 students and 5 staff.  It appeared everything went well and I could smell that they had chips and salsa in the high school room, which doubles as my office.  I challenged our students to come up with a group name and logo — looking forward to what they come up with.  We are also planning a service project to one of the missions here in Staunton in November.  In addition several of our teens will be working on church projects this Saturday.

Missions Celebration

This evening our praise team prepared the musical worship for this coming Sunday which is also our annual Missions Celebration.  We have two teams and the teams are sounding better each week.  James has joined us on bongos and did a great job tonight.  The team sounded really good tonight and I am looking forward to Sunday.  Be praying for our missions celebration this weekend and our focus on Servant Evangelism.

Big News

We now have a new mini-van.  The old one was 5 1/2 years old and had 130,000 miles on it.  I shared that we had some repairs done on it and this past weekend, we had additional problems — fortunately they didn’t cost us any money.  We felt it was time — since we need a vehicle to get around here.  It is a 2009 Kia Sedona — we had really good success with the last Sedona.  They’ve added several features — I like the keyless entry — this is the first time we’ve had a car with that.  It also has stow and go seating for the back row.  It came with a complimentary three month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio.  I haven’t decided if will continue on with that, but it is nice to listed to the radio without a lot of DJ chatter.  But that’s another story and another post.  That about wraps it up.  Seize the Day!

Let Me Entertain You?

From the blog of Tim Hughes (author of Here I Am to Worship)

“The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment.” A.W. Tozer.

This is quite a challenge – especially as we all prepare to lead worship this Sunday. Are we going to pull out the classics, and try and force people into a time of worship? Are we going to rely on our own strength to make something happen? Or, are we going trust and follow God to lead us in a beautiful, deep and meaningful encounter of worship.

John 6:63
“The Spirit brings life; the flesh counts for nothing.”

Perhaps the best thing we could do in terms of our preparation for leading worship is to spend some time in God’s presence, seeking Him and asking that He may fill us up with the Holy Spirit and use us in power to bring glory to Him.

Let’s go for it. Who wants shallow entertainment when we can give people Jesus!

Sunday Night Thoughts

This is going to be a quick post again this week.  God has met with us over the last several days.  Pam and I have been at our District Minister and Spouse’s retreat.  It was great to see our friends from the district.  I had the opportunity to lead worship and take care of the media.  Fall is on its way.  We had a cool rain on Friday and Saturday.  I didn’t get a chance to run outside, but ran on a treadmill at the conference center which just happened to be right here in Staunton.  I ran 2.25 miles on the treadmill, with almost all of those being running miles.

We had a good service at Parkway this morning.  We introduced the song “Mighty to Save” and it sounded like the congregation picked up on that pretty quick.  It was good to spend some time resting this afternoon before our Global Ministry Team meeting this evening.  This week appears to slow down a little after the last couple weeks.  Have a great one and Seize the Day!

Reader’s Theatre

Jesus the Light of the World

Reader 1: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Reader 2: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.  3. Through him all things were made.

Reader 1: 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good.

Reader 2: Without him nothing was made that has been made.  4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

Reader 1: he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”

Reader 2: 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Sunday Set List

September 27, 2009

Welcome and Announcements

Call to WorshipReader’s Theater (Genesis 1:1-5/John 1:1-5)

*Songs of Praise and Worship

Shine, Jesus, Shine (Kendrick)
Mighty to Save (Fielding/Morgan)
We Will Glorify (Paris)

*Connecting in Prayer

Song of WorshipThe Light of the World is Jesus (Bliss)

Giving Back to God

Worship Through God’s Word

Sermon Series: Unveiled: Jesus, the Great I AM
I Am the Light of the World – John 8:12; 9:39-41

Song of Commitment – O To Be Like Thee (Chisholm/Kirkpatrick)

*Benediction

Weekly Lectionary Reading

james3_13Proper 21 , September 27, 2009

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22  •  Psalm 124  •  James 5:13-20  •  Mark 9:38-50

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

This passage really speaks to the power of prayer in a believer’s life.  It gives us a good idea of what the body of Christ (that is the church) is suppose to look like.  Several years ago, I preached a series entitled, “Five Things James Would Tell the Wesleyan Church.”  Here is a model of what the church should do for each other.  We don’t like to hear it much because one of the things involved is confession.  One of the things that the church should be is a place of prayer.  Lord, grant that we would be powerful and effective in our prayers that you would produce powerful results.

Swearing, Skipping Church Were Illegal

On Saturday, I was handed our local paper and it had this article about life in Staunton in the days before the Revolutionary War.  I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it with you.

From the News Leader (Staunton, VA):

If you were a wrongdoer in Staunton’s early days and got caught, life was not going to be very pleasant for you. To make matters worse, almost anything could transform you from a citizen going about his or her own business into a miscreant destined for public punishment.

Let’s say you owned a tavern and wanted to raise — or lower — the price of a drink, a room or fodder for a customer’s horse. You couldn’t. Prices were fixed by law and failure to charge precisely what the law called for could get you a stint in the ducking chair (Staunton obtained two of these; one in 1751 and another in 1772). Women who were deemed “common scolds” also faced ducking.

If you were a farmer and built a gristmill on your own land without first obtaining permission, you could be fined or end up tied to the town’s whipping post.

Staunton and Augusta County residents could also be, and were, hauled into court for swearing. In August 1747, for example, George Lewis was fined for swearing four oaths and John Windlekite was fined for swearing in the presence of the court itself. That same month, Thomas Carson went a little further and abused the court while he swore at it, and ended up in the town stocks.

People were also punished for cursing the Bible and for “not bringing up their children in a Christianlike manner.” In March 1758, such charges were leveled against five residents — Repentance and Mary Townsend, Thomas Wats, John Blackly and Robert Dixon.

You could also get into trouble for “carrying lies,” getting drunk or breaching the peace of the Sabbath. The latter offense included unnecessary travel on Sunday and “driving hogs across the Blue Ridge.” And, if you didn’t go to church, you could be fined, as George Campbell was in March 1756.

Of course, stealing in Staunton and Augusta County was against the law, and one of the the punishments was ear bobbing. In 1752, James Cachill escaped having part of an ear chopped off when he was found not guilty of picking pockets, but received 10 lashes at the town whipping post when the court found him guilty of being disorderly.

Debtors went to prison, while other scofflaws faced switching, stocks, shackles and imprisonment in the Augusta jail — a poorly constructed, square-logged structure 22 feet by 17 feet.

The severest and most horrific punishment was reserved, of course, for murder and other heinous crimes. Three such instances involved slaves.

On Nov. 9, 1763, the Augusta County court found Tom, a slave, guilty of the murder of John Harrison by shooting him in the back. Ten days later he was hanged. On March 4, 1780, a slave known only as Violet was hanged in Staunton for “feloniously burning down her master’s dwelling house.” And, on April 16, 1783, Philip, a slave belonging to one Henry Garrett, was hanged after being found guilty of murdering Alexander Hunter of Augusta County and wounding the wife of another man.

But simply hanging these people wasn’t enough. An example had to be set. In each of these three instances, the head of the condemned was severed, jammed onto a pole and erected in a public place somewhere in Staunton.

The court records do not tell us who had the unfortunate and undeniably gory duty of cutting off the heads of the hanged prisoners, but it could well have been the sheriff, a doctor, or even another slave.

As harsh as some of these laws and their punishments might seem today, they were — as are the laws and penalties of the 21st century — reflective of the attitudes and will of the people of that time. The men who meted out justice in those early days were influential and commanded great respect as they sought to tame a large, dangerous and frequently violent frontier.

Long Distance Runner

Some of you who have been around a while will recognize this as an old DeGarmo and Key song.  I love the version that is on the Live — No Turning Back album.  The whole project is good, but this song has some great guitar soloing by Dana Key.

While I have not achieved the status of a long-distance runner — not by a long shot — this morning was a great day for me.  My total distance was 3.1 miles.  My goal right now is to get up to 4 miles and begin training for a 5K race this spring.  Of those 3.1 total miles, I ran 2.25 miles. For non-runners 3.1 miles is 5K, but I need to run a bit further to train for 5K.  This is a personal best.  I’m still amazed myself.  I’m getting to the point where breathing wise I can sustain a long run, but leg wise I’m still falling a little short.  My legs give out before my breathing gives out.

I found out I am definitely a cool-weather runner — I do not like to run in heat or humidity.  This morning’s 60 degrees was perfect.  The other thing that happened is that I tried to keep my head up — always looking toward the prize, which has great spiritual application.  So many times we run our spiritual lives looking at the ground — just meeting the immediate needs.  What we may need to do is look up at the prize — and run toward it.  Then maybe we will find ourselves a long-distance runner spiritually as well.