Feeling Blessed…

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I already posted this video over there this morning.  Sometimes running and working out brings out some strange thoughts.  I had finished an intense 4 mile run and 1.7 mile walk and was doing my stretching and upper body workouts, which also includes a set of leg presses (100 to be exact.)  While I was doing that, I thought how incredibly blessed I am.  I especially thought of these last three years since we moved to Staunton.  I’ll probably share more specifically about that at the end of the month, because at the end of the month I hit a significant milestone.

After finishing up my workout, I went into the car.  Our “local” (local – sort of – they are based out of Lynchburg, but have transmitters and translator throughout Southwestern Virginia.) Christian radio station is celebrating its 18th birthday today.  I got back into the car and a lady was sharing via telephone how Spirit FM had blessed her.  Immediately the dj’s started playing the song “Blessings” by Laura Story and immediately I thought how God has blessed me.  God is good.  While the song does talk about trials – and we have been through some trials over the years – currently the river seems pretty calm.  As the song was playing, I thought of how God has blessed me and my family. Tonight, I thought I would share some of those blessings.

  • First and foremost – God – I owe everything to Him, after all, He saved my from myself.  I thank God for creating the world.  Jesus for saving humans, and the Holy Spirit for guiding us in this Christian life.
  • Second – my wife, Pam – she is an amazing person, and I love her with all my heart.  She is an amazing mom and an amazing pastor.  I love you very much and my life is blessed because you are a part of it.
  • My children: I thank God for my children – Rebecca and Michael (and thankful for Michael’s godly parents) and the child they are expecting; Anna and James.  I love the fact that they love the Lord and his church and are serving Him.
  • My parents and Pam’s parents – Because of their example, Pam and I have an example for our children.  Thank you for your investment in me.  Related to that is our brothers and sisters.  You are a blessing to us.
  • Our church – both Parkway and the Wesleyan Church – it is a privilege to serve and we are blessed to serve our church.
  • Our lead pastor – Barry Lawson – his gentle persuasion, literally changed my life.  What a godly example of a leader!
  • Our many friends – here in Staunton and literally around the world….there are way too many to list here, but one I would mention is my good friend Wayne Richards.  Thank you for investing in my life – thank you for the blessing you are to me.  I can’t wait to be in Frankfort next week.

This list could go on for a long time, but this post is almost 500 words already.  I praise the Lord for his many, many, many blessings!

 

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Why It Matters When We Gather for Worship. — Skye Jethani

We need to remember that there is a deeper reason why the church has worshiped on Sunday mornings–one that is still relevant today.

When Jesus rose from the grave, he was doing more that conquering death. He was doing more than displaying the vindication of God. He was doing more than giving us hope for our own resurrections in the age to come. Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruit of the New Creation. His raised and transformed body, as Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 8, is indicative of the transformation that awaits all the saints and the creation itself.

Following the creation account in Genesis 1, Sunday is the first day of creation. So Jesus is raised on a Sunday to mark the beginning of God’s new creation. This fact was not lost on the early Christians. They did not worship on Sunday because it was convenient. They gathered on Sundays because they were people of the new creation, people of the resurrection, and people of the in-breaking Kingdom of God.

The move away from Sunday worship can have many motivations, and some of them are honorable and even Spirit-guided. But I sense some congregations opt for non-Sunday worship without considering these deeper realities. In other words, the merely utilitarian reasons on which which we abandon Sunday may be another sign of how theologically, historically, and biblically ignorant we have become. We view our gatherings as a time of self-improvement, therapeutic enrichment, social connection, or artistic expression–and it can be these things. So we make human-centered, self-centered decisions about when these functions can happen most conveniently during the week.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Up Early

I was up early this morning – I was lured by the promise of a cool morning – don’t you just love cool, early, Sunday morning walks?  I know that I do.  It is the last week of July and we are caught squarely in the dog days of summer.  We have been fortunate to have some low 60 to mid-60 mornings, but most of last week, the morning temps were near 70.  This morning it was really nice to have some cool temps.  The morning temps are supposed to be that way for most of the rest of the week.  The grass is back to growing like crazy, especially with all of last week’s afternoon thunderstorms.  I got to get it cut tomorrow, so that I can cut it again on Friday.

Sweet Dreams 

I wrote about my exploits yesterday – so I won’t say much more about it, except that it was a good, solid mid-summer run on a bit of a warm day.

Basking In the Glow of the Day

Today has been a great day – from start to finish.  I already wrote that I went for a walk this morning.  That was great.  Then it was time to get ready for a busy day.  We had a great day of worship with our church family at Parkway.  The worship team did a great job in leading us in worship.  The congregation was really singing today.  Pam and I co-taught elementary church.  She is currently on a series on worship, so I have been helping out here and there.  We spent part of the time planing a kids take-over Sunday.  We are planning that for September 9.  It should be a great Sunday.

This afternoon we got ready to worship with our Waynesboro church – not only our Waynesboro church, but our Monticello church as well.  These churches are both part of our cluster.  We have tried to start a new thing where we gather together on months with five Sundays for a musical praise and worship service.  It was great tonight to be with Pastor Barry, Pastor Craig Horton (Waynesboro), and Pastor John Hannan (Monticello) and each of their congregations.  God was already there – we showed up and He made himself known.  It is always fun to pack out a tiny sanctuary with people who want to sing.  It was pretty amazing as we worshiped both congregationally and with special music.  Pastor John brought a great message to close the service.  I can’t wait for our next 5th Sunday Sing.  It was a great encouragement to all our churches.

Getting Ready for FLAME

This week I have a few things to get ready for church – one is to get ready for our fall launch of Student Ministries – the other is to get ready to head off to Frankfort and FLAME.  I am looking forward to being with my friends, and by looking at the roster, I will be meeting many new friends this time around.  The band looks great – I have played with many of the musicians before – most of them lead worship at their home churches.

Renew/Restore

It’s time to get to bed to renew my body for the week so that I can Press On!

Sunday Set List

 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

July 29, 2012

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

Songs of Worship

Your Grace Is Enough

Mighty to Save

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Worship Through Prayer

Songs of Worship

In Christ Alone

Jesus Messiah

Worship Through Giving

Special Music

Worship Through God’s Word

Lighten Up: Laying Down Our Heavy Burdens

The Burden of Hopelessness

Psalm 23

Song of Commitment

The Solid Rock

Benediction