Sunday Night Thoughts

This is my second attempt at writing this tonight.  I started writing this on Microsoft Word – offline.  We are using a G3 Wireless card and we pay for the data usage, so I try to limit my time online with the wireless card.  I was well into my second paragraph when Word just stopped — it hadn’t even autosaved, so I lost my first two paragraphs.  About the time I forced Word closed, I noticed that my laptop was picking up a wi-fi signal from the church.  I wasn’t quite able to logon, but earlier this week we learned that if we move the van to the turn around space (about twenty feet) the wi-fi signal comes in well enough to connect to the church’s wi-fi network.  I find this very odd – why? you ask.  The parsonage is a good 100-150 yards from the church and it is a bit further to the wireless router.  This is well beyond (I think) the usual distance of a wireless router.  The thing that makes it stranger is that many times, I can’t access the same router from my office, which is only a hundred feet or so (in a straight line) from the router.  So strange.  Anyway, I am taking the opportunity to write online, since I have access to the church’s wifi from home.

Wow! what a way to start off this edition of Sunday Night Thoughts.  It has been a really good day and that good day has really followed a really good week.  I have been amazed as I have watch God work this week.  We had another amazing worship service this morning.  Our lead pastor was out this week, that means I took many of the duties in leading worship that he normally does (Welcome, announcements, pastoral prayer, offertory prayer, and the benediction.) Pam was preaching this morning, so I didn’t have to worry about that.  By the way, she hit a home run.  Great job, Pam.  Not only were there those things to think about, but we also had several additions to the service (a video for Sanctity of Human Life, a missions moment, and a children’s sermon.) All that I had to remember.  We also had an unplanned addition, but the Holy Spirit was in it and it was beautiful.  We have be so blessed to be visited by the Holy Spirit over these past few weeks.  I am excited about what God is doing.  Not only that, but the worship team did an excellent job this morning.  I am so proud of our team.

I do want to go back and share about this week, because as I’ve said, it has been a good week.  Our warmer than usual winter continues in the Shenandoah Valley.  I’m glad in a way, because it has been wet as well and if it would have been colder, we would have alot of snow.

The weather has really helped my running game this winter.  In December, I was able have my second best month of running ever, completing somewhere in the vicinity of 130 miles.  As of today, I have completed 100 miles, with a long run (11 or so) miles scheduled for Saturday.  I will be making a run at that 130 miles this month.  Yesterday was a challenge for me.  I wanted to go out for a run, but we had some freezing rain overnight.  In anticipation of the rain, I had bought a new C9 windbreaker/rainjacket to combat the elements.  The new jacket worked wonderfully and kept me warm and dry (to a point.) I was sweating underneath.  It looks like I made need it again this week with more rain showers forecast, although the high temps are to be in the 50’s all week.

I have hit a major goal this week.  For the first time that I can remember, I am under 200 pounds.  Friday morning I woke up and weighed in at 199.  I am so excited about this journey that I have been on. I can honestly say that I have never been as fit in my life as I am at the moment.  I would expect by the end of 2012, I will be near or at my goal weight.
One of the interesting things that happened this week is that we had another encounter with a stray dog — it was a good encounter however.  The cute dog pictured on the left is an Australian Cattle Dog.  He was running around the church property.  At one point, Pam tried to get her, but she jumped into the van.  Not long after that we were able to catch up to her and bring her into the church kitchen, so she could warm up and we could give her something to drink and to eat.  She was cold, thirsty and hungry.  We also didn’t want to see a dog end up as roadkill.  While Pam and I aren’t creature people, I do believe that we have an obligation to take care of God’s creation.  Taking care of this stray was part of that. We enjoyed having a dog for an hour or so, until Animal Control came and got her.  I saw her picture on the county animal shelter website, but I noticed yesterday it was gone.  It looks like she has been reunited with her owner.  From what I understand this is an expensive dog.

This week finds us preparing for a chili cook-off.  I think Pam is entering this year.  We are also getting ready for showing Courageous to the Staunton community.  Be praying as we show this powerful movie.  I hope you have a great week and as always — Seize the Day!

Sunday Set List

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Third Sunday after Epiphany

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

Ephesians 6:13-17

Songs of Worship

Come People of the Risen King

Made Me Glad

Video

Worship Through Prayer

Missions Moment – Dave and Donna Tolan

Songs of Worship

Standing on the Promises

Thy Word

Children’s Sermon

Worship Through Giving

Song of Worship

Ancient Words

Worship Through God’s Word

The Sword of the Lord

Closing Song

Onward Christian Soldiers

Benediction

Deliver the Message

Third Sunday after the Epiphany
January 22, 2012

Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

1 Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

 3 This time Jonah obeyed the LORD’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.    4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

 10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

After Jonah was thrown overboard and then spent three days in a big fish and got vomited back on to the shore, God reminds Jonah that he has a second chance.  Jonah is told to deliver God’s message.  This time Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord.  Despite Jonah’s expectations, the people of Nineveh did repent and God saved them from destruction.

Who is God telling us to go to and deliver His message?  Perhaps God has a specific people or person that he wants you to deliver His message.  Perhaps we are the one God will use to bring them to salvation.

There Is Healing

One of my favorite books when I am going through a hard time in my life is Under His Wings and Other Places of Refuge by Patsy Clairmont. It is a book to help people when circumstances cloud our perspective and rain on our lives. There are great poems in this book which I am thinking of posting in the next couple of weeks. This week I have picked a poem that was written by a woman who was working through healing from having an abortion. This coming Sunday we are remembering Sanctity of Human Life.  I know this is a very emotional subject. We talk about this subject in many ways — teaching children and teen to keep themselves pure, helping women who are pregnant to get care for them and their babies, and loving those who had abortion and helping them heal. All of these are important. I do not see abortion going away any time soon, so we need to do all we can to help those in need.

This poem comes from Jeanie who was 18 years old and her boyfriend Ted who was 19 year old and were expecting a baby. They decided to get a back room abortion.  Later they got married but the memories of the decision continued to haunt their marriage.  One day they heard “Focus on Family” on the radio and the subject was abortion.  There had been years of guilt, pain and loss of their secret baby. They decide to have a memorial service for their baby. Jeanie wrote this poem for a tribute to the baby:

Our little innocent one,
We want to say good-bye.
We’ve missed the opportunity
To hear your laugh and cry.

 

Because we were so immature,
We wounded you one day.
But God knows we are sorry;
For forgiveness we did pray.

 

Thou’ many years have passed,
Still you linger in our heart.
Our little, innocent one,
We will not remain apart.

 

For when life’s battles won,
Our God, He knows ‘tis true
As David did his son,
That we will come to you.

We need to let those who had abortions know that there can be healing found in God. We need to love them as God loves them.

New Testament Worship

The place of worship has changed.  Now it is wherever God’s people are.  But the heart attitude of worship remains the same: to prostrate oneself, to revere, to do homage, to adore.

Once again, we see the picture – if not physically, then attitudinally – of bowing before God.  The issue under the New Covenant is the same as under the old: Worship centers on the attitude of the heart.

Ron Owens,  Return to Worship: A God-Centered Approach

Interrupted by God

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and cancelling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps – reading the Bible. It is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday Night Thoughts

What can I say?  It’s been another great week and another great weekend if not just a bit cool.  Winter has arrived for a few days again, but by the end of this week, it will be gone again.  The early forecast has the temps in the mid to high 50’s by next Monday.  By that time it will be January 23 and the coldest part of the winter on average will have passed.  We are already beginning to notice the longer days at night.  However, it is still rather dark in the morning, but we should begin to see a change in the next week or so.

I can believe how the weather is cooperating, so that I can continue to train.  This was a very good week.  The rain and the very cold weather came on all my off days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.)  I ran 5.5 miles Sunday, 6.8 Tuesday, 6.8 Thursday and 9.5 yesterday for a total of about 28 running miles for the week.  The other good thing is that I am getting faster.  One of the 6.8 mile runs was under a 9 minute mile and the 9.5 miler yesterday was at a 9:25 pace.  I’m really excited at the possibility of being able to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon this spring.  The other thing is that the holiday pounds are gone.  On Friday, I weighed in at 200 pounds.  Who knows the last time I weighed that.  Weekends are always tough in the weight department, but I’m hoping by the end of this week I will be under 200.

This evening, we went over to church to preview the movie “Courageous.”  Parkway will be presenting this to our community on February 4 at 7:00 PM.  We are working on the promotion of this movie.  It is a great movie about father’s and families – very powerful – very moving – many emotions.  There’s drama and humor.  Be praying for our church during this next couple of weeks as we present this movie to our community at no cost to them.

We had another great service at church this morning and the Holy Spirit’s presence was evident once again.  I love listening to our congregation sing.  We about blew the roof off on Holy, Holy, Holy and Revelation Song.  The worship team did a great job leading us in worship.  I had some difficulty with “The Solid Rock.”  For some reason I was having difficulty getting the ¾ feel  and ended up messing up the drummer.  Once we got started, everything smoothed out.  We were having some trouble with our presentation remote (it needs new batteries.)  but we made it through the service.

Pam is getting ready to preach next week, and I have quite a few things to get done to get ready for Courageous.  It looks like it should be a great week.  Let’s Seize the Day together!