You may have noticed a lack of posts over the last week. Maybe you didn’t and that’s ok. I have decided to take a little vacation from blogging. I’ve noticed that much of what I put on here is simply links and posts from others and not much original. Pam has been doing most of the original writing. I’ve come to realize why so many blogs “go dark” – the writers run out of material. This is not a permanent break, but something that I need. I’ll still post some of the regular features – especially things that are of a journaling nature – running posts, worship sets, weekly readings, but I need some time to collect my thoughts and put some original stuff up here. There are a couple of posts, if I had time. So don’t worry, I’ll be back.
Well, it’s been a good week and a good weekend. Not that it hasn’t been busy. We knew coming into July that it was going to be a bit crazy. Not only are our lives crazy, but the weather has been a little weird here in the Shenandoah Valley as well. We’ve had some hot, hazy, and humid weather and over the last couple of days, we’ve had some cool unseasonable weather. Yesterday’s Sweet Dreams Race was about 10 degrees cooler than normal. We have also had alot of rain and when I tried to cut the grass yesterday, it rained. It looks like I’m going to go out to another hayfield tomorrow night – if the weather holds.
We are also anticipating the arrival of our kids from the north. We are really looking forward to spending a few days with them and getting to see Robert crawl.
We did have an amazing week helping our friends over Craig and Vilene Horton at Waynesboro Wesleyan Church. The material was the same material, so we recycled the material that we used here. The children – through their offerings – raised $160 for Hephzibah Children’s Ministries in Macon, GA. This is a ministry supported by the Wesleyan Church and they do a great job. Not only that, but 13 children crossed the line of faith this week, trusting Jesus as their Savior. That is why we do all this!
Speaking of Sweet Dreams – I crunched the numbers from yesterday’s race. I finished 10th in my age category – which is all men from 40 to 59 years. I don’t think that’s too bad. The better news is that I finished 35th overall in a race that had 179 runners. The Sweet Dreams race is a family-friendly race so many of the runners were younger, but still I feel pretty good about it all.
We had a sweet spirit in this morning’s service at Parkway. I love it when things just come together and the team did a great job leading worship.
Like I said our kids are coming this week and then Saturday, we go over to Valley Mission to serve breakfast. What a great opportunity this is to serve our community and I look forward to it. That about wraps it up…Pressing On!
July 28, 2013
10th Sunday After Pentecost
How Can I Keep From Singing
Welcome and Announcements
Call to Worship and Invocation
Songs of Worship
Here I Am to Worship
My Jesus I Love Thee
Worship Through Prayer
Song of Worship
It Is Well
Worship Through Giving
Worship Through God’s Word
I Need Thee Every Hour
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
You restored the fortunes of Israel.
2 You forgave the guilt of your people—
yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude
3 You held back your fury.
You kept back your blazing anger.
4 Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
Put aside your anger against us once more.
5 Will you be angry with us always?
Will you prolong your wrath to all generations?
6 Won’t you revive us again,
so your people can rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory.
10 Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11 Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
13 Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
preparing the way for his steps.
It’s the last weekend of July, so that means it’s time for the annual Sweet Dreams Festival in Stuarts Draft, VA. Part of the festivities include a 5K race. For the last three years this race has been on the hottest weekend of the summer – which makes sense because the last week of July/first week of August are statistically the hottest weeks of the year.
We got a nice break in the weather this morning – it’s raining as I type this. I was concerned all week because of the calf muscle injury I sustained last Saturday. This past week I have nursed it and got up early to get everything stretched out. This was a very good race. The Sweet Dreams 5K is an out and back race – straight out, make a 180 and come straight back – literally. Just because it is straight doesn’t make it easy, because there are some tough hills. I really didn’t set many goals for this race – my first 5K since last year. My main goal was to beat last year’s time and earlier this week – that was a huge goal. The cooler morning meant that I had a shot and the little bit of speed work I did all week helped as well.
While I didn’t beat my fastest 5K, I did beat last year’s Sweet Dreams time – finishing in 24:30 running the distance at a 7:54/mile pace. I haven’t seen that pace in a long time, so I was very happy and really now need to work on picking up that pace as well as really train for the Richmond Marathon. Above you will see that I included pictures taken by our official family race photographer – James.
Every day, countless young people leave the church and, worse, abandon their faith for something “more” in North America. What has been our response? More programs? Better curriculum? Stricter accountability to godly behavior? I wanted to understand how we had been led to believe that faith is simply knowing the right information about Christ and acting with good behavior.
Perhaps no one would actually say that. Of course we would say that we wanted a faith that impacted all we did and said, faith that would last a lifetime.
But think about it: if faith is simply about good teaching and proper behavior, then the church is a sufficient place for children to learn that.
But if faith is that plus more–if it’s understanding how to live out what we believe in real time, by the power of God’s Spirit over a lifetime, then the family (with spiritually minded parents), would be the best place for that!
Dreaming of More for the Next Generation: Lifetime Faith Ignited by Family Ministry by Michelle Anthony via David C Cook 2012 quote located on page 16
No doubt there is a moralist element in the kingdom of God. God does desire us to live out a model humanity for the world. We are His special people after all.
However, right information and good behavior might win you the perfect attendance award, but it doesn’t reflect that you learned anything…
…save that at least you were present to be able to learn something.
If learning means application of the content taught and the stories conveyed, then moralism should be the byproduct of great faith (capture and lived out through a compelling story), not great faith the result of a good, well-behaved life. Michelle Anthony’s argument here is that if church is merely the context to communicate moralistic values and good character development, then it is sufficient in its current ministry focus and application. However, Anthony’s point about the insufficiency of the church to demonstrate a life lived out according to a kingdom of God belief structure isn’t experienced in a church programmatic setting, rather it is exercised in the laboratory of real life–the family.
Whether a family is spiritually minded or not, children and teens develop and live out the belief structures and practices that are modeled in the home.
It’s what they see most often. It’s what they generally know. In fact, for most it’s all they know.
One cannot underestimate the extreme influence one’s family has on how they live out one’s life.
That’s why church in and of itself is insufficient. It seems, at least to this children’s pastor, that the church, in a close, involved, and aligned partnership with parents could really help foster not only right information and good behavior, but a life lived out that displays a model humanity for the world.