When Worship Hurts…

I-Will-Praise-You-Website-BannerIs it singing worship songs or preaching? No. Is it reading our Bibles? No. Is it a consistent early-morning time of devotion? No. Is it being an incredible neighbor? No. Is it going to church, giving tithe, teaching a class? No. I could go on and on, but what I really want to highlight is where many American Christians draw the line: when worship hurts.

What? Worship can hurt?…..Yes! True worship is expressed to the fullest when our sacrifice of praise costs us dearly. It’s when we are brought to our knees, when more is required from us than what we see is humanly possible (as if any work of God is “humanly possible”)… That’s when we come face to face with true worship.

  • Worship is obedience—to whatever extent God demands..
  • There is a big distinction between “hearing” the Word and “doing it.” 
  • Abraham is one of the greatest archetypes of faith and obedience.

from Jamie Harvill’s blog

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night ThoughtsWaiting….

As I write this I am waiting for Rebecca and Michael so that we can Skype.  I’ve been doing a lot of waiting of late…waiting to pick Anna up from work…waiting for it to warm up so I can go for a run…waiting for it to warm up – period.

The Deep Freeze

Like most of the country, we are caught in a late January deep freeze. Yes, it’s not as cold as other places that we have lived and yet after nine years since living in those cold places, it seems really cold.  Tonight we walked out of church and the temp was 25 degrees – cold and yet it seemed balmy especially because the wind wasn’t blowing for the first time in several days.

We do get a break from the cold tomorrow and then we plunge back in for a couple of days with some warmer weather coming for next weekend.  I am really looking forward to that.

Hoping for Normal

The weather has thrown everything off…James only went to school on Monday and has been home since.  Augusta County is currently on a two hour delay for tomorrow.  Let’s hope it stays a two hour delay.  I’m hoping for a run around noon and then I have to play my runs by ear for the rest of the week, with plans to get in a ten miler on Saturday.

Chili Cook-off

Today we had a wonderful day of worship.  The weather has really thrown things off (is that a theme of this post or what?) Our team didn’t get to practice like normal, so we rehearsed this morning before church.  It went very well and the team did a great job.

This evening our church had our annual Chili Cook-off.  I made some chicken chili.  This year there were three chicken chili recipes.  I really enjoyed the hot chili that used pork instead of ground beef.

We missed last year’s chili cook-off because Robert was being born.  We get to celebrate his birthday this week, along with James’ birthday.  It looks like a great week and I am looking forward to what God has in store.

Pressing On!


Sunday Set List

Sunday Set List MainJanuary 26, 2014

3rd Sunday After Epiphany

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship and Invocation

Psalm 27:1-4

Songs of Worship    

We Want to See Jesus Lifted High

Crown Him With Many Crowns

Revelation Song


Songs of Worship

Like A River Glorious

Jesus Messiah

Worship through Giving

Worship through God’s Word

Closing Song

Cares Chorus




Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Hazards of Running

hazard-signTo say it’s been cold here would be an understatement.  It’s been said that everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.  Not that any of us can really “do” anything about the weather.  This is the fifth winter of my running career and I can say that it has been a challenge especially over the last few weeks.  I looked at my running totals so far for the month and I am at 82 miles.  If all goes well this next week, I may match December’s totals.  But I am a far cry from the monthly totals of the fall.  But that is ok, because we are in a down time.  This is a rebuilding season.

Today I was able to get out in the relative warmth of a 32 degree day and yet it was windy.  It’s hard to run into the wind – all that cold air gets into your lungs.  The last few days have been hazardous in many ways.

  1. First there is the cold.  We have had dangerous wind chills over the last few days.  Thursday after I got out of work, I went for a three mile run.  It was about the coldest that I have ever been during a run.  I thought my fingers would never warm up.
  2. Then there is the ice.  Several days of freeze and melting cycles have created very slick spots.  There were several of those that I encountered today, especially in the park.
  3. Then there are the people who don’t shovel their sidewalks.  Since it was so tricky in the park today, I decided to take to the sidewalks in the city, but that proved difficult because so many sidewalks were either partially shoveled or not shoveled at all.  This means in many places I had to run on the street next to the sidewalk. Which brings me to hazard #4
  4. Drivers who don’t watch for runners.  Let me set the scenario: I was running facing traffic and in a crosswalk.  I was almost run over by a man who was traveling in the same direction as me as he hurried into the drugstore that I was passing.  I was scared because he came out of nowhere.

So to return to how I did this week.  Most of my runs were slower but then again the temps have been cold and I don’t like that cold air deep in my lungs.  Once it warms up again, I will pick up the pace and work on that 8 minute mile.  Until then though I am pressing on!

the-lord-is-my-light-ps27Third Sunday after the Epiphany (January 26, 2014)

Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27:1, 4-9; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.

My son-in-law Michael messaged me yesterday and asked if I knew some songs that would fit this week’s lectionary readings.  Michael and Rebecca lead worship for a contemporary Catholic service in Ottawa.  He asked for songs about building the Kingdom which the lectionary readings allude to this week.  One of the songs that I’ve come to appreciate is from this band – Rend Collective Experiment.  Their music is different, bringing along many different influences.  I think this song really describes what we are to do as believers.

Why is There a Lack of Nursery Volunteers in the Church?

nurseryministryWhy is There a Lack of Nursery Volunteers in the Church

Earlier this week I asked my friends on Facebook to give me suggestions for blog ideas. My two older sisters suggested that I write a blog about how great they are. I have to say that could be a funny blog. The nursery director from our church suggested the topic about lack of nursery volunteers. Which I think would be a great blog subject.

            The lack of nursery workers in the church in my observation is a problem that many churches deal with. We were at church when James was little that had a Sunday night service but never had anyone in the nursery to watch the children. There were no young families coming to church on Sunday night.  I was expected to be at church Sunday night with James, who was young enough to be in the nursery. So I went to church and sat in the nursery in the basement with my son. I had no way to hear what was going on in the service. I finally stopped going to church on Sunday night because I was not getting anything out of being there.

            Most churches expect the parents of the children to staff the nursery. The thought historically goes,  once your children grew old enough to leave the nursery, your nursery duties were done. I know nursery directors here this excuse quite a bit.  The conversation goes this way:

  • I have done my time in the nursery.
  • I did when my children were young now it is time for the parents of the children to do it.

So why do we have such a difficult time finding people to staff our nurseries in church:

  1. People do not understand that rocking a baby in the nursery is one of the most important things you could do for God’s kingdom. It is a place for the child to learn about God’s love. When they are in the nursery, they can be taught about God’s love. It is the first place in the church where Christian discipleship begins.
  2. Working in the nursery is not a visible ministry.  Many people prefer the visible ministries “jobs” to the invisible.
  3. Most people do not understand when they are in the nursery taking care of children, they are not only ministering to the children but they are also ministering to the parents. When the parents can sit in the service, they are being discipled and it will make them better parents.
  4. Most people do not understand the need for a well-staffed nursery. Without children in a nursery, the churches’ future is dim.  One of the signs of a dying church is there are no children in the church.

I want to encourage you to sign-up for nursery ministry.  Just think how much easier that would make the nursery director’s job.  The bonus is that you get to make an impact for the Kingdom.

What Worship Does for Your Children

hands-worshiping2Parents typically spend hundreds of dollars on extra-curricular activities for their children. Money spent on training in martial arts is considered an investment in children’s safety. Private tutoring is often purchased for a child struggling academically. It is quite average for a family to spend $9,076.00 yearly on expenditures for three youth participating in sports.

We need to invest in our children spiritually.

One way to invest in our children spiritually is by advancing what I call their “worship training.” Participation in worship training is a major component to a child’s spiritual development and well-being. I consider this second in importance only to helping them obtain assurance of their salvation.

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