Sunday Night Thoughts

It has been a pretty amazing weekend, which topped of a pretty amazing week.  As I sit here, I can hear the rain falling outside.  We have had quite a bit of rain over the weekend.  It started not to long before I got out of work at Chick-Fil-A on Friday and it’s been raining off and on (more on than off) since then.  We have had a real summer preview (as most of the country has) over the past week.  It does look like the temps will return to a more normal March temps – there is a freeze warning for Monday overnight into Tuesday.

So like I said, this has been an amazing weekend.  I’ll try not to bore you with too many details.  On Thursday evening, I heard some strange noises coming from our refrigerator and Friday evening before supper, Pam tried to get ice, well, no ice would come out, but if I played with the door on the ice dispenser, it would work temporarily.  After dinner, I pulled apart the ice dispenser and found a little plastic part had broken off.  I was unsuccessful in finding any super glue around here so we went to the General Dollar to pick some up.  We came back and I attempted to put it all back together.  After several tries and almost gluing my fingers together several times, I was able to get it all back together.  I would say I “fixed” it, but I simply put it back together, because the ice dispenser does not work and I don’t want to try it for fear that it will break again.  What is amazing in this whole process is that I thought, I would simply order a new part.  I would gladly have paid $50 for a new dispenser housing and replaced it, but NO, turns out you can’t buy that part – you have to replace the whole door! Warning! <Rant> AMAZING! In order to replace a plastic housing you have to replace the whole freezer door???? </Rant> Sorry, that just really isn’t right on a two year old appliance.  I let the customer service agent know (very nicely and politely) that it wasn’t right.  I’ve been having a lot of issues with customer service lately and not only with the seller of our refrigerator.  I’ve been having an issue with one of the church laptops as well (and trying to be nice about the situation.)

Anyway, time to move on.  Speaking of rain — I did something new on Saturday morning – it actually was quite pleasant.  If you are a runner and have run in the rain, you know what I mean.  If you are not a runner, then you just think us runners are crazy.  But I was scheduled (by my training plan) to run an 1-1/2 hours or 10 miles (whichever was shorter) yesterday.  I was not about to let the rain beat me. So I got out and ran in the rain for 9.94 miles.  It was a great pace (a 9:07/mile.) Which means in the last three months, I have run in a wind chill of 12, 30 mile per hour + gusts and an hour and a half in the rain.  I stopped in briefly by the church and got several puzzled looks and I said I just had to do it.  Running really gets in your blood and there are times I just have to get out and run – no matter what – rain, snow, wind, cold, or heat.  It’s funny how I have progressed – a year ago I would have just let the run go and chalked it up to a rainy day.

In other running news, our church is working on a Pew 2 5K running program.  Since that was for new runners, we cancelled that today.  We will try again next week.  I’m excited to help others along on a new adventure.

All of that leads up to today’s incredible day.  Today we celebrated missions at our church.  It was one of those Sundays when everything up to the time of service seemed to go wrong – it seemed that every obstacle that could distract me from worship was there.  I sat on one of the front rows of the sanctuary and asked the Holy Spirit to work.  As the service began, you could just feel the Holy Spirit descending and He began raining down on our service.  The Holy Spirit lined up every element of the service from the Call to Worship, to the music, to the prayers, to the message, even the closing song…all without consultation amongst the participant – it was a Holy Spirit thing and there was a tremendous response at the altar.  Thanks to Dave Tolan – a Global Partner’s missionary, assigned to Southern Wesleyan University.  Thank you for sharing your heart and what God shared with you.  I love his message that I can remember at 9:30 on a Sunday evening – Get In, Get Beside, Get Behind, Get Out.  The most memorable line was “The unreached with remain unreached until they have names.”  Following the service we went out to dinner with our missions team and had some great fellowship.  By the way the meatloaf at Mrs. Rowe’s is AWESOME!

I got a short nap in this afternoon and returned to church for choir practice.  We had a great rehearsal.  I am so proud of our choir and look forward to hearing them present this worship musical called “Near the Cross.”  There was even a sweet Holy Spirit presence during rehearsal.

One of the best parts of the weekend was talking to our daughter, Rebecca following choir practice.  I love the fact that technology exists that we can use laptops and the internet to see our loved ones and talk to them.  It was good – it’s been a good week — It’s been a great weekend and I am looking forward to an even greater week.

Seize the Day!

Sunday Set List

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Fifth Sunday In Lent

Welcome and Invocation

Call to Worship and Invocation

Songs of Worship

Sing to the King

Jesus Messiah

Before the Throne of God Above

Worship Through Prayer

Songs of Worship

Song for the Nations

I Will Follow

Worship Through Giving

Special Music

Worship Through God’s Word

Song of Commitment

Go, Light Your World


She Will Give Birth to a Son…

Annunciation of the Lord (March 25, 2012)

Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 45; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38

The Annunciation, ca. 1644 by Philippe de Champaigne

10 Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”

12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”

13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

This seems like a strange passage, considering that we are currently in the heart of the season of Lent.  However, since the church year is built around the narrative of Jesus, another of this week’s scriptures deals with the angel coming to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus.  Verse 14 is a familiar text in relation to the Christmas story.  Today we are reminded how the New Covenant began.  It began with the angel coming to Mary to announce Immanuel — God with us.

Learning Interesting Facts

This evening, Pam and I were watching “Who Do You Think You Are?” featuring Helen Hunt.  This was a great show, because in it Helen finds out about her great-great grandmother who was a leader in the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union.) At first Helen approached this part of her genealogy with trepidation, but as the layers were pulled back, she became aware of the great things her great-great grandmother did through the work of the WCTU.  Her thoughts were initially that the WCTU was a judgmental organisation.  Again she discovered that in the 1800’s alcohol was the source of physical and sexual abuse.  This is what the WCTU fought against.  In addition, the WCTU fought for voting rights for women, education, and other important social issues.

Toward the end of the segment they talked about how instrumental Helen’s great-great grandmother was in women getting the right to vote in 1920.  One of the things that I love about our denomination is that we fought for many basic human rights back in the 1800’s – slavery, basic rights for women, taking care of the widows and orphans and so on.  I’m glad to see that we are doing some of these things again through organizations like World Hope International, Hephzibah Ministries and Wesleyan Native Ministries and others.

As I watched that segment this thought came to me.  In the Wesleyan Methodist and Pilgrim Holiness Churches, women were able to preach before they had the right to vote. Many look at our stance at women in the ministry and think we’ve come to this late in the game, when in reality, Wesleyans were one of the first to ordain women.  Some may ask why we ordain women.  Isn’t that against the Bible?  Let me close with two links

Hey There Skinny!

I’ll have to admit, it is very strange hearing those words – Hey, there skinny! For the first time in my life I’ve heard those words to describe me.  In fact, there are those who are concerned about my loss of weight.  This picture was taken early last week at FLAME and posted on Facebook and immediately there were comments – many of them were complimentary (for which I am grateful.) I have always considered myself chubby.  I was as a kid – the only time that I felt that I wasn’t was during my junior and senior year of high school, when I was working at Jandl’s Turkey Farm.  I looked good when I graduated.  But from that time on, I gradually gained weight until two and 1/2 years ago.  Starting from 265 pounds and progressing slowly downward (primarily through running – and now lately from a combination of both running and watching calories) yesterday morning I weighed in at 189 pounds.

Here’s where it gets interesting though.  While I have lost 76 pounds – I don’t consider myself skinny.  When I check what weight I should be for my height, I’m about 20 pounds from my goal.  I really don’t want people to be concerned for me, because I really am feeling really good and I still eat – that’s how I got so big in the first place 🙂 I still enjoy good food (which means food that isn’t good for you 🙂 (i.e. Krispy Kremes, Cheese steaks, hot dogs and and Pam’s great baking (if you didn’t know, she is an awesome cookie maker – just ask the recruiters in Roanoke and Staunton.) Anyway, it’s weird getting all the attention – I’ve worked hard over these past 2-1/2 years and even harder over the last 6 months and what you see is a result of that hard work.

Today, I am looking forward to going out and getting a 10 mile run in.  The half-marathon is just 6 weeks away.  I had several good one-hour runs in this week.  In fact all my runs were under a 9 minute mile pace.  If I could be close to that for 10 miles I would really be happy, but I will take a 9:15 to 9:30 pace for tomorrow.  As always — I’m pressing on!

I Will Put My Instructions Deep Within Them

Fifth Sunday in Lent (March 25, 2012)

Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33

31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says theLord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

We are almost through our 40 day journey of prayer and fasting – a season we know as Lent.  It is a journey that takes us to the cross.  Over the last several weeks I have been selecting songs that tell the story of the cross – the story of the new covenant.  This is the new covenant that is promised in Jeremiah.  I love what God tells His people.  This new covenant will be deep within them.  They will do what the Lord commands because those instructions are buried deep within their hearts.  People who see them will know who they serve.  What a wonderful promise that we are given because of the cross of Christ.  His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins – we call that the atonement – because of the shed blood for our sins, we can become at one again with God.  This is all part of the new covenant that was promised in Jeremiah.  Are you living in this New Covenant?  I encourage you to seek God out – seek His ways — seek His covenant.

Introverts Run the World…Quietly

Most people would probably be surprised if I told them that I am an introvert. Surprise!!!  I grew up in a home of extroverts. I had three older sisters and one younger brother.  My sisters did most of the talking for me, so much so that early in my life there was concern that I wasn’t talking yet.  The doctor’s diagnosis – she has three sisters who do all the talking for here.  For most of my life I have felt invisible to the world.  To be honest even as an adult I feel that way. When I was in elementary school, my family moved from a small village called East Texas, PA to a bigger town Emmaus, PA. It was only a short move from East Texas to Emmaus and yet the day of the move it was huge, because I took the wrong bus home – to the house in East Texas.  I spent several hours in a dark, cold, empty house (It was winter and it got dark early.) My parents did not notice I was not at the new home till supper was over.  As I gotten older I have to learn to find the extrovert inside of me because is want I had to do to get the attention of my parents. I said all that because a couple of weeks ago our daughter Anna who is the introvert of our children put this video on her wall. A couple of days ago she put the whole article on my Facebook timeline.  I thought it would share the video and article so all introverts of the world stand up with pride.