Friday, November 30, 2007
Some truth there...some stretch.
I know for certain that my wife assists me and encourages me so much. We mull things over together across a wide range of subjects: kids, current issues, church life, politics, fun... She has a keen mind and a good read on things.
So we've been talking about Christmas and I shared with her a couple weeks ago that I did not have a clear direction on what to share during this season of Advent as we point toward Christmas. She reached back into her mental archive of sermons I preached in years past and over the course of the next few days began to remind and press upon me a sermon series I shared back in the Fall '04. Drawn from Dr. David Thompson's book, Holiness for Hurting People is a series of messages pointing to the holiness available for everyone...in spite of our hurts.
Sunday's sermon will be from Ephesians 4:25. I'm going to talk about the Light of the World who has come to dispel our darkness and take us, using Dr. T's terms, from Delusion to Disclosure of our Pain.
A great song that goes along with this series is entitled "Peacemaker" by Greg Ferguson. It's on a CD entitled One Life. I think it is available from Willow Creek Community Church's on-line store.
Christmas may look/sound a little different at our church this year but it will still point to the Light of the World.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
(For those of you reading outside the state of Michigan, opening day of rifle hunting season is this Thursday.)
Last night was my opportunity to witness what happens when you tap into something bigger than yourself. The event was titled, The Blessing of the Hunt, and it was certainly that. His shop was absolutely FULL of hunters, their spouses and children.
Out of the 61,000 licensed deer hunters in our region of Michigan and of the 750,000 in the state of Michigan, we hung out with 200.
What'd we do?
6:30 PM...people began arriving for the 7:00 event
-people talked about hunting
-people talked about hunting some more
-a taxidermist gave a brief presentation
-people kept talking about hunting
-I spoke to the group about the fact that although we look and see evidences of God in creation, the reality is that God is looking for us. He loves us and pursues us.
-Prayer of blessing and safety for the hunt
-a drawing for give-a-ways was held (including a sweet prize: a bobble-head deer)
-people talked about hunting
9:30 PM...headed home
I'm not a licensed deer hunter and don't plan to ever be one--much to the amazement of the men in my church. But I loved hunting last night.
-My field: Bowman's Outdoor Sports
-My target: Hunters who need Jesus
-My weapon: Love of Christ
Huge thanks to God for last night. Thanks to Dave & Shelly Bowman and all the people they connected with to help out last night!
Friday, November 9, 2007
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession,A wonderful friend of mine, Sally Dunlap, is such an example to me in this verse. She is every bit the southern School teacher that you can picture. She is small and petite, with white hair and sparkling blue eyes. Though she is a senior citizen herself, one of her ministries while she and her husband Whitney winter in Florida is to visit those who can’t leave their home. One of her ladies, she told me, had severe arthritis and her hands hurt her terribly. So Sally would take her best lotion to her house and while they would visit, she would rub the lotion into her hands, working them until they would begin to loosen. That is the fragrance that comes from knowing Christ. I imagine Sally, spending time with a woman that few would take time to see. I imagine the woman, and the smell of her hands long after Sally left. What a beautiful picture.
and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing
Him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
William and I started doing devotions together about a year ago. He loves them! He had a little trouble getting the word right, though. “Lotions, Mommy! Let’s do Lotions,” he’d say. When I finally figured it out, it occurred to me that he was being profound without even knowing it. How do I get the fragrance of Christ? By spending time with Him. Have you ever hugged your Grandma and find that you smell like her for the rest of the day? When I spend time with God, truly learning and loving Him, His smell is on me. I, in turn, leave that fragrance wherever I go.
May you have the fragrance that comes from knowing your Lord and Savior and may you spread it wherever you go.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
We returned last night from a fairly quick visit to my family in South Dakota. Aberdeen, SD has never been my "home" (my parents moved there after I graduated college) but it is home for me because my family is there. It was great visiting with my folks, my sister & brother-in-law and my grandparents. Kate turned 1 while we were with them. She's such a beauty and I am blessed to be able to be part of her life. Home is Good.
Home in Michigan is good. We were anxious to be back yesterday. There is something about familiar surroundings and your own bed. Ahhhh. Even being back in the office today is something of a welcome change. (I may feel different about it tomorrow...) But home is good.
While in South Dakota I had opportunity to hear my dad preach again. He's so good. What a great story teller! Then he pulls it all together for a great point. He keeps it clear and simple--so helpful when wanting people to understand.
-My biggest observation from being in the congregation is: There are loads of distractions when you are in the congregation. Great pastors know that the point of the message should be clear and concise so that, in spite of distractions, people will still get the main point. I want to keep it simple so people can get the point.
Home is good.