Sunday Night Thoughts

It’s almost 10 PM on a Sunday evening and just getting to this.  It has been a full, rewarding day – from our morning worship service to this evening’s Community Thanksgiving Service.  

*(Now playing – Michael W. Smith – Michael W. Smith II) I have been listening to some older Christian albums of late and I have been enjoying playing bass along with them, like I did back in the day.  

It has been a snowy weekend here in the Northern Tier.  It all started as we were returning from our monthly district leadership meeting in Hamburg, NY. It was such a good time – it was like being in church – in a very good way.  The Holy Spirit was evident as we met together.  

On the way home – around Ellicottville, it started snowing.  We had to pick up Anna at work and then I had a podiatrist appointment.  By that time, roads were starting to get slick.  We were supposed to have a choir practice for our community service, but we canceled because of the weather.  By Friday morning, we were greeted with 9 to 9-1/2 inches of heavy, wet snow – and the kids went to school, albeit on a 2 hour delay.  It took me some time to get the driveway shoveled out (by the way as I write the distinctive sound of a plow going by can be heard. 

As a result of going to a nutritionist, Pam and I got a 30 pass to the YMCA.  So, Saturday morning we got up and I did three miles on the indoor track.  I loved that compared to running on a treadmill.  But we also learned about some of the other fitness equipment.  In the evening we went to one of our friend’s houses for their family’s thanksgiving celebration.  I even ended up in an impromptu jam session. 

Like I said we had two really good services.  I preached from Psalm 136 this morning – Give thanks to the Lord…His faithful love endures forever.  This evening I led worship and the community choir.  It was a great service. I am thankful for a great bunch of community ministers – all who love the Lord and want to see the Kingdom of God grow. 

This week is thanksgiving and I wish you an early thanksgiving.  So that’s about it – I hope you have a great week.   

Me leading worship this evening.  
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Sunday Night Thoughts

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Getting this written early tonight – even before the sun sets – and the sunset comes early these days.  Currently we are watching the Buffalo Bills put it to the New York Jets.  It’s good to see our “local” team winning.  I’m sure all my Western New York friends will be happy with this win.

The weather has taken a turn for the cold – it probably feels more like December than November.  Friday and Saturday we had lake effect snow.  It didn’t stick around for long, mainly because the temps moderated today and the ground is still warm.  Yesterday however, was brutal – it was 30 degrees, but windy and wet and it made it feel horrible.  Today, in contrast was much nicer.

This past week, we had the opportunity to pray with the local pastors and then on Wednesday we met for our regularly scheduled meeting.  We put the finishing touches on our Community Thanksgiving Service that will be next Sunday evening.  I will be directing the choir and leading the musical worship.  Also as part of the service we are collecting non-perishables to give to those who may have an emergency food need.

This evening we will get a chance to talk to our kids and I am looking forward to that. It is one of the reasons I’m getting this written early.

We had a good worship service this morning.  Today was the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I.  At the time it was called the Great War or even the War to End All Wars.  Since it was also Veterans Day, we honored them and commemorated the 100th anniversary.  I preached a message called “Dressed to the Nines.” We are to clothe ourselves with the characteristics of Christ.  It was well received.

That’s about all I have – have a great week!

Sunday Night Thoughts

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Welcome to the first Sunday Night Thoughts of November.  As most of you did last night, we turned the clocks back one hour.  As I look out the windows – it is now dark at 5:30.  I thought it was much later than it was and was thinking I was way behind, but no, it’s just what we need to get used to until April.

Our local news channel out of Buffalo tracked the number of sunny days vs. rainy days in October – now sometimes Eldred (being that we are two hours south of Buffalo) is different than Buffalo, but I think our sunny days vs. rainy days is pretty close.  There were just 5 sunny days in October as opposed to 19 rainy days.  The ground outside is soggy to say the least.  Unless we get some warm, dry weather, the grass is going to stay the way it is.  I really hope that we get a break in this pattern soon.

It has been a good week of ministry.  Last night our church gathered for our annual Harvest Dinner.  It was a wonderful time of food and fellowship.  I led a couple of songs and brought a short devotional called “Great Is Your Faithfulness.”

This morning we had an extra hour, but I managed to fill it up.  This morning’s sermon was one that I struggled with – I was still writing it last night.  That means I didn’t have a chance to go over it on Saturday evening. So this morning I was up early to go over the message and prepare my heart for worship.

Again the Holy Spirit was evident. I don’t want to ever take advantage of that or take it for granted. We had a good service despite some unexpected technical glitches during the sermon.  Still not sure what happened.  God has been doing a work here.  We continue to pray for revival – and I am excited about what God is doing.  This afternoon, it was nice enough to get out for a walk.

This week we have the first of our rehearsals for our community thanksgiving service.  I am directing the choir and leading the worship. Tomorrow the local pastors are gathering for prayer at noon and I am looking forward to that as well.

So, it’s been a good day and a good week and I am looking forward to what God has in store this week.  Blessings….

Sunday Night Thoughts

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It’s been an awesomely good day, but I am done – like stick a fork in me done.  More on that in a moment.  The weather here in the Northern Tier has been completely unremarkable as late – very monochrome – meaning grey and we continue to get lots of rain.  So much rain that yesterday morning, Pam and I decided to sleep in.  It was nice to have a lazy Saturday. We eventually went out to do some shopping.

Like I said, it was an awesomely good day.  We had a wonderful Spirit-filled and Spirit-led worship service this morning.  I finished up our series on the Lord’s Prayer.  We looked at this statement – “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  This morning we looked at what it means to yield to God and his will.  Several were touched by the message.  God is on the move here at McCrae Brook.  I am an thankful for what God is doing.

This afternoon one of the ladies at church took us out to lunch.  We went out for pastor’s appreciation and we went out to one of our favorite place, Sprague’s Maple Farm.  After that we got ready for tonight’s Trunk or Treat.  We had 5 church families handing out candy.  It was awesome.  We had about twice as many kids as last year.  It was interesting because most of them found out through our posting on Facebook.  It gave us inspiration to try an Easter Egg Hunt this spring.  Many of the people enjoyed that we had s’mores and hot chocolate.  It was great.

I can say that I am spent – and it is tough to even write. I am so thankful for what God is doing.  But it’s time to sign off.  Have a great week.  Blessings….

Sunday Night Thoughts

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On Friday morning, we woke up to frost (our first of the year.) This morning we woke up to our first snow flakes.  I thought I had some ice melt for the handicapped ramp, but didn’t so we had to get some before worship this morning.

We had an awesome worship service this morning.  Pam preached a great message on asking.  We are in a series called “Teach Us to Pray.” The series teaches us how to pray by using the Lord’s Prayer as a model.  There are four elements to prayer – Praise – Repentance – Ask – Yield. I will be finishing up the series next week.

It was a busy week as one of the members of our congregation died after about an 8 week illness.  His family was well loved by the congregation and by many in the community.  I had the honor of preaching his funeral.  It was a sermon based on 1 Corinthians 15.

In addition to all that I did my regular bus runs, so it was quite the week.  We even had some excitement at the funeral home on Wednesday night.  A train clipped a pickup that was parked too close to the tracks.

I think that’s about all I have for the evening.  Have a great week!

Sunday Night Thoughts

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A picture looking up the hollow.  Fall is beginning to show its beautiful colors.

We now enter the in-between.  Over the last few weeks, we have seen several seasonal businesses (drive-in theatre, and ice cream shops) close up.  We have a cider mill that makes cider and doughnuts that opened the beginning of September and closes around thanksgiving.

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Apple Cider and Doughnuts! 

It’s been a good week here in the Brook, even though it’s been dreary.  At least the first part of the week was.  Thursday evening was gorgeous.

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We had a wonderful worship service this morning.  I led worship and preached as we continued the series, “Teach Us to Pray.” Our sermon today was that prayer begins and ends with praise.  The Holy Spirit was evident as we worshiped.

Following worship, we headed across the mountain, and led a worship service for the Bradford Ecumenical Home.  It was good to be with the residents there.  One of our members is a resident there as well.

I finally did get the grass cut on Friday, but it was very swampy.

The other thing that went very well this week was my running.  Monday and Tuesday, I was able to get in six miles each, Friday I did 10 and Saturday I did six more.  This gives me 800 miles for the year.  It’s been a good year so far and I really want to get to 1,000 miles this year.  That’s about all I have.  Have a great week and seize the day!

Sunday Night Thoughts

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This was the picture from our parsonage last night.  It was a beautiful way to end a dreary week and a great way to begin autumn.  It’s been a good, but wild week – a little bit of a roller coaster ride, but such is life in the ministry.

I continue to believe God has great things in store for McCrae Brook.  It was a good day of worship.  There was a wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit during our worship service this morning.  Today we started a new series called, “Teach Us to Pray.”  We are looking at the Lord’s Prayer for a model of our prayers.

This past week, Pam and I went to our district leadership meeting and I had the privilege to lead worship for my peers.

Yesterday, I ran nine miles for the first time this year.  That felt good. I am still on track to reach 1,000 miles for the year.  Otherwise, we were able to relax, especially on a week that was such a roller coaster ride of emotions.

That’s about all for this week…Seize the Day!