Month: July 2013

Stranded

It wasn’t that bad… but it wasn’t pretty.

Beware the vengeance of squirrels, for it shall come suddenly upon you, like a wave of acorns.

This past Monday I hopped in the van to get to a meeting with pastors from some sister congregations and then on to visit some shut-ins. I looked forward to a full afternoon of growing in Christ and serving brothers and sisters in Christ.

And then the “check engine” light started blinking. And the van stopped functioning.

I made it home, opened the hood, and found just about every wire and cable I could see… snipped. My initial thought was vandalism (we live in a neighborhood where, while it’s not the most likely thing to happen, isn’t exactly outside the realm of possibility). I called up a congregation member who suggested squirrels.

Ah, those pesky rodents.

For the last two years, they’d been enjoying the comfort of the church’s ceilings for their nests. They got in through a hole in the roof’s sealing and chattered away up there. This spring we sealed it all up. And now… well, apparently furry vengeance struck.  (more…)

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I’m Wanted.

Word is getting out?

A few months ago, another pastor approached me. He’d like me to serve on the board of a pregnancy counseling clinic. “I know of your compassion, and that would be a huge asset to us.”

Frankly, I was honored. I told him I couldn’t answer yet; I’m already on the board of a teen center. I’m involved twice a week there, and with a new director my involvement might have to increase. I don’t want to commit to something and find out later that I need to back out. That decision is still pending, but after almost a month of the new director being on duty, I suspect I’ll be able to handle the additional load of being on another board.

This week, an old friend called me. He helps run a nifty blog called Bread for Beggars. They’re starting a new column, and wanted to know if I’d write for them. “I thought this might be up your alley.”

Another big honor! I accepted this one — after all, I already enjoy writing and do quite a bit of it. What’s a little bit more? (Plus, it really is a subject right up my alley. More on that as it develops!)

And then yesterday, a member of one of our sister churches in the city approached me. “Pastor, we’ve heard about some of your ideas and enthusiasm. We’re wondering if you’d be willing to come preach for us for a contemporary worship Sunday. We’d make sure your church is covered, too, of course — we’ll send over one of our pastors!”

Well, it is beyond nifty that apparently I’m becoming known for thinking outside the box and being willing to try new things, but my congregation is skittish around the idea of their pastor preaching elsewhere. Some things in the past have colored their perceptions of such sharing of pulpits, and my call is first to this group of Christians. I turned down the offer, but made a counter-offer: You want to pick my brain or ask for ideas? I’m willing to share.  (more…)

“You’re too old/young to have a good idea!”

I am so proud of my congregation.

Before I explain why, let me say: my congregation is full of sinners. Its pastor is a terrible sinner. We do terrible things to each other. We are broken human beings that, really, are just getting used to being open about our brokenness with each other.

And yet, sometimes, something happens that shows me that they are not what they were. They have been washed, they’ve been sanctified, they’ve been justified by Jesus. And it’s so awesome for me, as their pastor, when that shows.

We were having a congregational brainstorming session. It was pretty open. I served as moderator and tried to keep things focused and on track as well as allowing everyone the chance to speak. It went well. Lots of ideas came up. The central thought of the meeting was this: How can we make Jesus clearer to a visitor? How do we get all the junk out of the way that we do sometimes, how do we get all the thick “This is the way we do things” out of the way and simply present Jesus? (more…)