Sunday Night Thoughts

Happy Father’s Day – As most of you know, today is Father’s Day. This afternoon, I was able to call my dad. It was good to talk to him because I know there are those who can’t do that anymore. I am thankful for dad’s who leave a godly legacy.

It’s been a long weekend. Yesterday we headed north to Buffalo for District Conference. It was wonderful – a mix of reports, worship, voting, prayer. God’s Spirit was present. It was good to see some old friends – especially those I wasn’t expecting to see, like my friend Wayne Richards.

Friday began a three week break from major bus driving duties. I will be driving at noon for summer school, but it is a relatively short route. Most of this week will be spent preparing for Vacation Bible School. We are really looking forward to it.

I didn’t write a running update yesterday. This week I backed off on my mileage, hopefully I can ramp back up this week.

We had a wonderful service this morning – as we celebrated fathers – remembered Trinity Sunday and heard a report from District Conference. That’s about all I have for this week. Blessings….

Sunday Night Thoughts

Well, I’m back!  Actually, if you’ve been following the blog this weekend, you will know that I have been back all weekend.  I was suppose to be teaming as part of an Emmaus weekend.  If you are not aware, an Emmaus weekend is a wonderful time of spiritual renewal.  I was sponsored by one of the couples in our church.  Their daughter and son-in-law are also involved in our local Emmaus community and he plays and I mean he really plays the piano.  He wanted me to come on this weekend to play bass.  Because I am a member of the clergy, I was also asked to serve as an assistant spiritual director.  All that came to a halt on Thursday night, when I found out that Pam’s mom was in bad shape.  I returned home to be with Pam and be a comfort to her.

I really don’t know why, but I really don’t think it was meant to be this time around.  What was nice is that I already had scheduled vacation time with Radioshack, so it was nice to have a long weekend and Pam and I and the kids enjoyed being around each other for the weekend.

Tomorrow, everything returns back to “normal.”  Pam and I and her family are still in limbo regarding her mother.  Today, we had a great service in my opinion.  Twice a year, our church and other churches in our community face a challenge and that is something called NASCAR.  Our sleepy little community on the Southside triples (at least) in size as people come to Martinsville for the race.  This places a strain on the road system, but is great for our local economy.  Actually, we pray for rain, so they will stay over an extra day.  Native Virginian Denny Hamlin won the race today.

Several of our congregation had to work the race today in various capacities.  It also throws a wrench in the works in trying to pick up our students.  Despite all that we had a great service.  As we concluded the congreation sang “How Can I Keep from Singing?” and did a great job.  This afternoon we took our traditional drive through the NASCAR city.  It really is interesting, despite the terrible weather we had here today.  Sometimes I wish church people were as committed as NASCAR fans.

This evening we continued our study of the Ten Commandments; looking at #2 – No Idols.  I felt like I was preaching to the choir tonight.  We had a great discussion.  I think I’m rested up and ready for a new week.  Local Church Conference is coming on strong, so there are things to do to get ready for that and I’m leading worship at FLAME in a few weeks.  Blessings and have a great week.

Sunday Night Thoughts

What a difference a week makes.  Last week, I didn’t even post anything because I had nothing positive to say.  Today was a good day, not a great day, but a good day.  If you’ve seen some of my other writings, I’m ok with that.  Sometimes we feel that we always have to outdo the week before and that is a dangerous trap to get into.

Pam finally got a chance to teach a Sunday School lesson that she had been wanting to teach and she did a great job.  I wish I could say we had a large crowd, but we didn’t, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of those who were there.  Again, I feel I preached the message the Lord gave to me and I feel hearts were touched; but there wasn’t a physical response.  After church we went out to eat and then went visiting one of our men who has pneumonia.  We had a great time visiting with the couple and Anna and James had a great time with their three dogs.  The cheesecake wasn’t bad either, in fact it was very good!  We came home and I got ready for tonight’s service.  I normally don’t use PowerPoint notes in the evening, but I think it really helped get the point across.

We had our second to last choir practice for next Sunday and they sound ready.  Wednesday night we will have a dress rehearsal with full sound and video.

We didn’t sing much tonight for service because everyone’s voices were tired.  We are currently studying the 10 Commandments using a book by Dr. Wilbur G. Williams, a former professor at Indiana Wesleyan University.  I had him for my Old Testament Survey class.  We had a good discussion on the order of the commandments and then on the first commandment.

When we got home we had a family favorite, Open Faced Hamburgers.  What are they?  Take a package of hamburger rolls and split them.  Place them on a cooking sheet with the inside facing up.  Place some butter and mustard on the insides.  We used a pound of ground beef tonight.  Before placing it on the rolls, I seasoned it with salt, pepper, Old Bay Spice and some diced onions.  After mixing all of that in, evenly distribute the ground beef across all the roll halves and broil them in the oven until almost done.  I added some shredded cheddar cheese then and cooked them until done.   I think we will try to serve these at Mosaic some night.  Our family loves them.

Anyway it’s going to be a busy week.  I plan on blogging a devotional based on the lectionary each day this week as we prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection.  Carp Deim!

Sunday Night Thougts

I’m glad to finally be here tonight.  This is one part of the week to which I look forward — Sunday night — not that I don’t enjoy preaching or leading the singing or leading the choir — it’s just nice to be home and relax.  Today started early because we had to take Rebecca to Roanoke to get a ride back to Southern Wesleyan.  It’s a nice arrangement.  She rides down with another pastor’s kid and it just so happens their family pastored Preston before us.  We were up at 6:00 and met a Sheetz in Roanoke (where we picked up a little breakfast before coming home.)

When I got to church, I found out a few of our key leaders were sick this morning, but I wouldn’t have to substitute.  (Yea!)  I was surprised by our attendance for worship considering we had so many sick, but there were college students home to make up for the difference.  We sang a new hymn (Come, Christians Join to Sing) that everyone picked up real fast.  For the first time in a long time, I preached with simply an outline.  It worked really well, but I enjoy posting the text, rather than just the outline.  I did take a good nap this afternoon (nicknamed The Wesleyan Hour!)

After that it was time for choir practice.  Just about everybody was there except Rebecca and it is sounding really good.  I’m looking forward to Easter.  After choir practice, we started a new study on the Ten Commandments, based on a book by Dr. Wilbur Williams, a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University.  He was my Old Testament Survey prof.  It went well, but I didn’t leave myself enough time, so next week I’ll make the adjustments.

It is good to be back home and relax.  It looks like I’ve got a long week ahead of me, but like the gospel song says, “One Day at a Time.”  Carp Diem!

Sunday Night Thoughts

Today was a good day.  Last night, the family drove to Roanoke (When we picked up Rebecca on Friday night, she dropped her cell phone in the parking lot Ruby Tuesday’s.  So we had to return to pick it up.)  In addition, we went to see the Southern Wesleyan University Jazz Ensemble.  They were really good and we enjoyed the concert. 

Today, we had a good service and I preached with everything I had.  I was so into preaching today, at one point I really slipped in a southern phrase, “All Y’all.”  The congregation really enjoyed it.  I preached on the importance of having a soft spiritual heart. 

This afternoon, we lifted our services in support of a Singspiration at one of our community churches.  It was in honor of their pastor who has resigned and taken another church.  Again, we enjoyed some great music of all different genres.  After that they had a hot dog supper, in which the ladies of the church did a great job.

Following that, we had a choir practice for Easter.  The group is sounding great and I’m looking forward to a great Easter Sunday Celebration.  There was a particular line that I thought I would leave you with tonight.  It’s from the hymn “My Heart is Filled” which is part of our Easter Celebration.

For ev’ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.

I hope that is your prayer today.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Basking in the Love of God

From the moment I woke up, I had the feeling that today would be special and God did not disappoint.  Yesterday, was a special day for me.  We are now meeting on a regular basis for our Emmaus team meetings.  We received our assignments for the Emmaus weekend yesterday and the we annointed each team member.  It was a special time and then we received communion.  I had the opportunity to serve the bread and as I broke off a piece for each member, I looked them straight in the eye and said, “This is the body of Christ broken for you.”  By the time we finished, it had really gotten the best of me and then it was my turn to receive communion.  What a powerful time.  The only time in my life that was anything close was while serving communion at FLAME in Frankfort, IN.  Again, I was serving the bread.  There is something about holding the bread (which is the body of Christ) and tearing it — breaking it off — that really brings home the point that Christ’s body was broken for us. 

God has been dealing with me lately and yesterday, I spent basking in His presence.  After the meeting I had to go to work for a few hours and help close.  It was at that point I went over to the church to run through my sermon.  What a powerful time that was.  I went over about 9:45 and came home at midnight after a long time spend praising, praying and talking and communing with God (it was very cool.) 

That is what set up today.  By the time we got to worship this morning I was wired!  I really hope my sermon made sense (it made sense to me!)  I was excited and passionate about preaching the Word this morning.  I gave everything I had.  Some will probably think I had too much coffee, but what I had was a serious dose of the Holy Spirit.  Even though there was no physical response to the message, I really believe the congregation was moved by the sermon.  I was physically drained by the time lunch rolled around.  Wow! what a morning.  But God was not done.  After a few hours rest, we were back at church for choir practice and then a Celebration of Praise (I had a very loose outline of where we were going.)  We had a good amount of our regular church kids show up and most of our musical teens sang and did a great job.  We sang both new and old songs of worship.  I have been letting everyone choose there favorites out of the hymnal for the last few weeks, so we did that as well.  God met with us once again tonight and as he usually does a theme emerged as the service progressed. 

Yes, I have been long-winded tonight — but God has been so good.  I have been overwhelmed this weekend with His grace and his mercy and especially His love — that God would love me — that God would choose me to do His work — that God would want me as a partner in the ministry.  Sometimes that is all just a little overwhelming.  My take-away from this weekend is that everyone needs to know that God loves them and cares about them.  We need to live our lives so that the world knows that without a doubt.  Carp Diem (Sieze the Day)!

Sunday Night Thoughts

What a roller coaster emotionally the past two weeks have been.  There are some great things going on here at Preston. On the other hand, Pam’s family is going through a great trial at this time.

I already mentioned the great community chili cook-off last night.  Today, God “showed up” in a mighty way again.  Thank you Lord for your grace like rain falling down on us.  This evening was more of the same.  It has been incredible the way God is working right now.  Thank you, Lord.  I really have nothing else to say, except to keep Pam’s family in your prayers.