worry

Bracing for the Storm

thunder100-1

Speaking the truth in love is easy when there are no stakes. But now…

I did a survey of the congregation. Spoke to roughly half our members one-on-one. Asked them where our church does well connecting people to Jesus. Where we don’t do well connecting people to Jesus. And what they wanted the church to look like in five years.

A few things surprised me. Moreso, though, the biggest complaint surprised me not at all. About half of the people I interviewed mentioned this problem. As one member said, “Our church does a great job connecting us to God. Not so much connecting us to each other.” We have a congregation full of lonely people. They want to develop deep, real relationships. They want to be able to lean on each other, to support one another, to laugh and mourn together.

The cry was not unanimous. Several people said we were friendly and warm. Those voices were few in comparison, though.

Our congregation is looking for so much more. (more…)

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To me, yes. But to another?!

Long ago God beat into my head the important lesson: “I will take care of you and yours.” I was unemployed, my Bride was eight months pregnant with our first, and we had just moved and so were ineligible for any state aid for a while yet. Despite my pain and fears… God pulled us through. We never starved. We never lived on the street. I learned the lesson well and still treasure it: God will take care of my family.

Some people want me to worry. During dark days in the past, a member of my congregation has attempted to scare me by saying, “Pastor, if the church closes, what’ll happen to your family?”

I shrugged and answered, “We’ll be ok. God’ll take care of us.”

And it wasn’t a flip answer. It’s still not. This is where I stand: I trust that God will keep his promise not only to me, but also to my Bride and children. I’ve seen it before. I know he can do it again.

What I have learned for me, though, I have not learned for others. (more…)

Why should I tear out (what little) hair I have?

I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

You see, here I am on a Tuesday night, attempting to write a post for the blog. I usually just post a sermon, but as I didn’t preach last Sunday, I have no sermon to post. Thus, a post to write.

I find myself a little distracted, though. We have an election right now. I’m watching the poll numbers. I’m thinking about what the next four years will bring. I’m biting my nails.

And it’s stupid. I tell my congregation all the time not to worry. Usually it’s applying to things like health or money. Sometimes it’s to tell them that they need to stop working and destroying their family lives. There’s all sorts of reasons not to worry, but the biggest is that God tells us: he’s got us covered. We have no reason to worry. In fact, when we worry, we’re telling God he’s not doing a good enough job taking care of ourselves, so we’re taking the job of taking care of us away from him.

So what am I doing? (more…)

I might lose everything.

Genesis 6:1-3, 5-14, 17-22

 

6       When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

5 The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

9 This is the account of Noah.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

 

It’s Christmas! So why aren’t I happy? …I might lose everything.

  1. What are you losing?
  2. What are you gaining?

(more…)

Spectacular Failure

Sunday is September 11th: the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

The church is excited. Over half of our normal attendance has been directly involved with preparing for this service or in the actual execution of the service. We’ve had so many people handing out invitations, preparing music in an orchestra, adult choir, and teen choir. We have people who designed the invitations, the bulletin, and the movies and slides for the actual service.

The service itself will be powerful. We’re remembering each event at the ten-year mark to the minute. The music that’s been selected is powerful. The remembrance brought on by the film clips will probably evoke all the emotions of that historic day.

We’ve handed out three thousand invitations. Sure, that may be nothing to a megachurch, but for our little congregation, where an attendance of fifty is a great Sunday, this is nothing short of spectacular. The involvement on our level is incredible. We’ve been very blessed.

Yesterday I made a request of the congregation. I asked that they pray. I asked that they pray for two things: (more…)