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Archive for March, 2009

Here’s this week’s copy of the e-letter that will go out to all GCF’ers on Friday morning . . .

Goodmorning GCF’ers,

My parents are arriving today for a quick visit before heading back to West Virginia late tomorrow.  My Dad is going to work with me tomorrow on cleaning out about five Japanese Honey Suckle shrubs (not to be confused with the Honey Suckle vine that smells so sweet) that have taken over the fence between our house and the adjacent farm.  The stuff grows with a vengeance.

Japanese Honey Suckle is so dangerous to other species of trees and shrubs and yet so resilient that the Raven’s Run Nature Preserve in Fayette County is spending a $1,000 per shot for a chemical that can be injected into the stump of a Japanese Honey Suckle shrub to destroy the root system.

 Sin, injustice and unrighteousness run deep in this world.  So deep, in fact, that we can even see it at work in the nature around us (see Romans 8.22):  Japanese Honey Suckle overcoming native species, various types of moss feasting upon trees until the trees have no nutrients of their own, and Dutch Elm disease (a fungus) killing some 20 million Elm trees in the United States since 1960.

 Like nature around us, we are also faced daily with the wages of sin and injustice in our world.  Anger drives us to contempt.  Lust drives us to relational brokenness.  Greed drives us to injustice.  And so it goes.

 But, just as a $1000 shot can destroy the root system of the Japanese Honey Suckle, there is also a “cure” for the wages of sin in our lives.

 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8.1-2

 Here are a few things I want to cover in this e-letter:

 (1)     Bonfire – April 4 @ 7pm

(2)     1-1-1

(3)     The Final Anchor

(4)     comMISSION ‘09

 Bonfire – April 4 @ 7pm:  Max started playing t-ball on Monday of this week.  While I was talking to Max through the fence at Sim’s Field here in Wilmore, Kyra called for me.  She asked me if I had a GCF business card in my wallet.  She had just met a family that was new to the area and had attended a couple of churches, but were having trouble finding one they liked.  Kyra used the opportunity to invite this family to come to our GCF bonfire on Saturday, April 4.  As you think about the bonfire on April 4, you might also think about inviting a friend or family member who does not have a church home to come with you.  We’ll roast wieners, marshmallows, play flag football, volleyball and close the evening with some worship around the bonfire.

 1-1-1:  Are you praying?  I have kept my 1-1-1 card on my desk this week and have been praying at least ONE time a day for the family that we are going to invite to join us at GCF for the bonfire on April 4 and for worship on Easter Sunday.  Deep in my gut, I cannot escape the feeling that as we pray Biblical prayers for the people that we want to invite to GCF, that the Father – as we invite them – will lead many people to GCF and to Jesus!

 The Final Anchor:  I am excited about worship this Sunday (9am and 10.45am).  Bekah Witzer, an AC student who was in China this past summer working at an orphanage will be sharing some about her time there.  We’ll also wrap up our five part-series on hope, called The Anchor.  This series on hope has been pretty life-changing for me and I hope that it has been the same for you.

 comMISSION ‘09:  I really enjoyed having the Rapach family with us in worship on Sunday.  I asked Matt if he wanted to do the announcements during worship, for old-time sake, but he turned me down on the offer.  The video clip of the work that the Rapaches did with the YWAM team in Brazil and Peru gave a terrific snapshot of what the team going to Mexico Missions (in Cancun) will be doing this summer.  There will be VBS in the mornings and evangelism events at night.  We need at least 8 people (and preferably 10) for the work we’ll do in Cancun.  So far, we have only 3 people signed up to go.  It may be that you are one of the five (or seven) other folks that God is calling to Mexico.  If you are one of the ones, then let me know ASAP.

 See you Sunday morning,

Pastor Jason

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The great myth of church leadership is that there are great leaders who operate quite independently; dictating to a mass following what new and exciting trends the community of faith will be pursuing or living out together.

Yes there are great leaders, but truly great leaders never operate in genuine independence.  Those who do are usually not remembered as great leaders, but as great fanatics whose leadership skills are likely classified by the terms such as “zealot” or “dictator”.  Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, and no shortage of religious leaders – like Jim Jones or David Koresh, come to mind.

Instead, great leadership, is refined in the the community of a team.  From these teams, great leaders often emerge who – unfortunately – receive much of the kudos and accolades for any significant accomplishments.  This is due, in large part, to our cultures incessant need to search for Messiahs and Saviors amongst the hoards of rank amateurs who seek to lead us in better directions . . . current political trends in the United States come to mind . . .

Nonetheless, whenever we look closely behind a leader who is being given credit for accomplishing great things, we are certain to find a team of hardworking individuals who, like the leader, are striving for solutions that will help others achieve excellence in their pursuits.

I was reminded of this at our worship planning meeting this week.  Three of us sat down together to flesh out ideas, make decisions as we prepare to lead GCF in worship this Sunday.  The meeting was invigorating.  Some ideas were tossed out.  Others were kept to work on throughout the week.

It was another reminder for me that good leadership is a collaborative art; not the dictatorial whims of a single person.

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A few years ago there was a relatively well-known commercial for Special-K cereal.  The add featured blue-collar, middle class men saying things like, “Do these jeans make my hips look big?”  The idea behind the add was that men don’t talk about things like that.  Consequently, if women would only buy and eat Special K for breakfast they wouldn’t have to worry about it either.

Well, I’m going to break the pattern of men not talking about weight.  I have struggled with my weight since I was in the third grade.  About five years ago – for several reasons – Iwas motivated to do something about it.  I started eating really healthy and started running.  How well I remember those first runs.  At 287 pounds (I had weighed 320 at my biggest – I lost 30 pounds over a year or two by simply switching to Diet Soda), it was all I could do to make it a third of the way around a 1 mile track.  In fact, I had to teach myself that it was a real accomplishment for me to get up every morning at 6am and go run 1/3 of a mile.  Within about a year, I had lost 120 pounds and weighed 167 pounds.  I was running about 4 miles a day, four to five days a week.  I felt great.  That summer I took part in my first-ever sporting event and ran a 10K.

Several transitions then took place.  We bought a house and I changed jobs.  Through that change of routine and stress, I slowly began to slack up on my healthy eating and exercise habits.

As of last Thursday – nearly 3 years after changing jobs and 4 years after the purchase of our home, I had officially gained back 77 pounds – more than half of what I had lost.  I weighed 244.4 pounds.

Thanks to a good friend at church, I have been coaxed and prodded into getting healthy again.  Since last Thursday morning, I have not consumed more than 1500 calories a day (all healthy stuff) and I have been running again.  It has been great despite the fact that I have had to get over the disappointment of being taxed after running only a mile or so.  At any rate, as of yesterday morning I weighed 241.2 pounds.

And I am going to keep going.  Weight loss is one thing, but my bigger motivation at this time is to feel good again.  I simply  do not feel as good or have as much energy at 241 pounds as I did at 167 pounds and running 16 to 20 miles a week.

Posting this here is sort of like my public accountability mechanism.  At least once a week, I am going to post my progress and hope that it will not only keep me accountable but also encourage others who may need to start (or re-start) this same journey with me.

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