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Archive for September, 2007

Wanted to share this quick quote from N.T. Wright in Simply Christian . . .

“The pain and tears of all the years were met on Calvary.  The sorrow of heaven joined with the anguish of earth; the forgiving love stored up in God’s future was poured out into the present; the voices that echo in a million human hearts, crying for justice, longing for sprituality, eager for relationship, yearning for beauty, drew themselves together into a final scream of desolation . . . The death of Jesus of Nazareth as the King of the Jews, the bearer of God’s destiny, the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people of old, is either the most stupid, senseless waste and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or is the fulcrum around which world history turns.  Christianity is based on the belief that it is and was the latter.”

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Here’s a quick look ahead to Sunday . . .

 I’ve spent the week working on a message for Sunday from I Timothy 1.12-17 and Luke 15.1-10.  We’ll be talking about anxiety, worry and where to go when life seems to be out of control.  This is the second sermon is a series titled Words of Wisdom which offers some Biblical insights into some common problems we face in life.  The messages are available for listening and download at www.gcfi.com.

It has been a great week . . . ministry has not always been fun or easy, but it has remained fulfilling.  My conversations with so many people have been such a gift to me.  Sometimes you can just feel God using you in the expansion of his kingdom in the hearts and minds of his people.  That’s an awesome thing.

With the week behind me, the weekend ahead will be focused on my family . . .

Tonight, Kyra and I will watch the last of three old movies that we got from Blockbuster’s Total Access plan earlier in the week.  We’ve knocked out two 1940’s classics:  Kiss of Death and Laura.  The last movie on tap tonight:  Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window

Tomorrow night, we are taking the kids to McDonald’s for dinner and then we might go to Barnes and Noble to let Max and Sydney make use of a gift card that turned up in Kyra’s desk from some special occassion long ago 🙂 

 Saturday, I’m going to plug away at some work in Sydney’s bedroom.  I’ll finally get the old wardrobe that I’ve been antiquing for her into her room and then we’ll do some carpet cleaning.  I think we are also supposed to help a friend do some moving, but I’ll have to check with Kyra about that one.

 Jesus has been very real to me this week.  I have found myself confronted with the resurrected Lord so many times.  At the end of the day and when I’m pressed to get down to the simple realities of my life, I’m always left with Jesus and it is that simple reality that changes so much of everything!

 Something from Paul to end the week . . .

Here’s a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. —I Timothy 1.15

 Back to the blogosphere on Monday!

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I have no certain comments, thoughts or opinions to follow this quote.  Take it or leave it for what’s its worth to you.  But it is probably worth wrestling with.

When we wish to speak about the conditions for peace, therefore, we would do well always to keep before our eyes the fact that relationships between two nations bear close analogy to relationships between two individuals.  The conditions that are opposed to peace are in the one as is in the other relationship:  lust for power, pride, inordinate desire for glory and honor, arrogance, feelings of inferiority, and strife over more living space and over one’s “bread” or life.  What is sin for an individual is never virtue for an entire people or nation.  What is proclaimed as the gospel to the church, the congregation and, thereby, the individual Christian, is spoken to the world as a judgment.  When a people refuses to hear this command, then Christians are called forth from that people to give witness to peace.  Let us take care, however, that we miserable sinners proclaim peace from a spirit of love and not from any zeal for security or from any mere political aim.

This quote is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in A Testament to Freedom.

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One of the real joys of my time as the Lead Pastor here at GCF have been some of my conversations and interactions with Harry Stevenson.  Harry is a retired United Methodist Pastor from the New Jersey Annual Conference who spends half of his retirement time here in Wilmore.  Harry’s son, Rich, was one of the co-founding pastors here at GCF.  Harry is a very wise and humble man and I am blessed with each encounter I have with his wisdom and his heart for the Lord.  It is kind of wierd to say, but I am blessed to get to be Harry and Ann’s pastor!  It seems odd because he is so much wiser than I am.

At any rate, a few months ago when I was visiting Harry and Ann, Harry pointed out that one of the most amazing things about being a pastor is that people allow you to become a part of their lives at some very special moments and during some very private times.

Harry is so right.  Over these last two weeks I have been overwhelmingly amazed at how many people have involved me in special moments in their families or have allowed me into very private places in their lives and hearts because God has called me to be their “pastor”.  The amazing thing is that so many of these people come to me because they perceive that they need my help, but when they leave I am usually the one who has encountered the wisdom of God and have been helped.

So, here are some “thank you’s” . . .

Thanks to my friend, Harry, for teaching me about the awesome-ness of this calling and the privilege that is mine as I serve Jesus and his church.

Thanks to those who have invited me to be a part of special times or have trusted me with their hearts and their lives.  I can only hope that God has used me to bless you as much as He has used you to bless me.

Thanks to my Father for this calling.  I don’t think I can say it any better than Paul said it in I Timothy . . . “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelef.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 

Thanks, Father.  You are far better to me than I could ever be to myself!

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Here’s a quick list of highlights from Sunday . . .

1.  We set a record – for the second week in a row – in our Sunday worship attendance since moving into the Ministry Center.  We were two shy of 300 people.  We hit 293 on September 2 (which was our highest attendance since the move), but we shattered that record with 298 yesterday.

2.  There were several people who sought out the help of those who were ministering at the close of worship yesterday.  It seems that the Father began to do some healing work in several people’s lives regarding areas of conflict.

3.  Yesterday’s message – which was the first in a five part series called Words of Wisdom was deeply personal for me.  Like many people, I have been involved in conflicts that I regret and have avoided other conflicts that I should have entered into.  I am hoping and praying that the Lord will continue to set aside from us EVERYTHING – including unnecessary conflicts – so that we can take up our crosses and more whole-heartedly follow him.

4.  Yesterday’s message was based in Luke 14.25-35 and Philemon.  Philemon is a great little book.  As I studied it last week, I realized that I could have done a whole five part series on the short 25 verses that comprise the little letter!

5.  I continue to be challenged by a piece of advice given to me by another Christian leader a few weeks ago.  The advice:  focus on the basics of leadership and pastoral ministry.  I was challenged by this idea again as I was reading a passage by Dietrich Bonhoeffer from A Testament to Freedom.  Bonhoeffer’s challenge was to live with a simple faith so that we could be simply obedient to the commands and instructions of Christ.  The advice to focus on the basics and Bonhoeffer’s emphasis on simple faith and simple obedience are a reminder that we should never let things become more complicated than they really are!  Jesus is our risen Savior and he is giving us instructions and calling us to be obedient to them every day.

6.  My wife, Kyra, who has rheumatoid arthritis, had cortizone shots last week that worked beautifully.  She had a great weekend.  Unfortunately, her doctor thinks one of the other meds she is on is not working as it is supposed to.  This might mean another change in meds.  We are praying about this one.

7.  The Colts (my absolute favorite team) drove home a beautiful victory over the Saints last week.  The Steelers (not my favorite team) steam-rolled the competition in their first game out of the box, but the victory should be about as sweet as extra-dark chocolate since they played the Browns 🙂 BTW, I did appreciate Katie’s Steelers wig and the Steeler’s #1 foam finger during her Women’s Ministry Announcement yesterday, but what about the towel?  Aren’t all Steeler’s fans supposed to have the towel?

 That’s enough quarterbacking for this week.  Have a great one!

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I really am trying to post regularly again.  As we have kicked back into the fall months here at GCF, I have been deeply convicted that as much time as possible must be given to “hands-on” ministry and work which has meant that I have chosen to neglect my blog page from time to time.

 But not today; primarily because I have about a 45 minute break right now between finishing up some desk work and a staff meeting.

First things first:  the Don’t Judge These Books page has been updated to include books I am reading right now.  Highly recommended from the list right now is N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian.  It is Mere Christianity for a new generation.  Skeptics of Christianity will, I am sure, be able to take issue with some of Wright’s thinking, but I am certain that it will also provide a refreshing view of Christianity for those of us who are Christians and those who are not.

Second things next:  I am feeling a little bit frazzled these days.  I think it is impatience.  It is the desire to see the kingdom explode all over the place and not wanting to remember that the Kingdom explodes all over the place all the time and we sometimes aren’t looking for them.  This coupled with the realization that sometimes our desire for something to happen big and happen fast might be a veiled desire to arrive at something without having given it the same blood, sweat and tears that Jesus gave to accomplish the greatest Kingdom work of all time.

A few random thoughts . . .

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