Archive | July, 2010

Courage and the Call

29 Jul

Are you brave enough??  REALLY??

Too many people fear the call of God.  Truth is, God has a calling for EVERY ONE OF US.  Some embrace it in all it’s fulness.  Some run from it.  Some use the 95% method, holding on to the 5% of their choosing and never fully surrendering to Him.  And some never answer His call.

Where are you on that spectrum?

The fear of surrendering to His call is actually the fear of losing control.  The fear of allowing God to call the shots is found, for many, in the lack of control over our own destiny.  AS IF.  As if we had ANY CONTROL whatsoever.

I am not a fan of rollercoasters.  I have been known to ride them, on occasion.  But if I had to choose between a rollercoaster and a ride like Soarin at Disney, I would choose Soarin every time!  And the reason I do not like rollercoasters is the loss of control!!  I know it!

Here is the thing:  We might THINK we have control over this life, but we don’t.  We are not nearly as omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent as we might think we are.  BUT GOD IS.  And, the truth is, it really does take courage to give Him control.  But it really is the BEST DECISION anyone can ever make!!!

Do YOU trust Christ as your Savior??  Then make His joy complete by trusting the Holy Spirit to enable you and empower you to do what GOD has planned for you TODAY.  And EVERY DAY!!!

Cramped for space

27 Jul

A good problem for any church to have, but ALWAYS DIFFICULT TO SOLVE.  The NEED for space is great at Ebenezer in several ways … Storage space is almost non-existent, education space for Sunday School is so jammed-up you can’t believe it, and now OFFICE SPACE is the new frontier.

For the past several days we’ve debated where Dusty (our new administrator) will be billeted … The answer, for now, is that she will share space with Lisa.  So yesterday we moved stuff, assembled stuff, and got things ready.  Today we will run a few wires and set her up!!

Space limitations are good and bad.  Good that we have the need.  Bad that we have nowhere to go.  In this economy, this type of problem calls for us to do creative things.  Things that we’ve possibly never done before with Sunday School, with storage, and yes, with office space.  God is blessing up and growing us.  We might just have to break out of the molds we’re in and help make it work!!!

Two-Hundred

26 Jul

(Today’s funny from Mikey.  www.mikeysfunnies.com)

The pastor said to Mr. Smith, one of his long-time parishioners, “Thank you, Mr. Smith, for attending out church.  I wish I had twenty parishioners like you.”

“Gosh, it’s nice to hear that, Pastor, but I’m kind of surprised,” admitted Smith.  “You know that I complain about every sermon and hardly ever give money.”

The pastor said, “I’d still like twenty parishioners like you. The problem is, I have two hundred.”

************************

Okay, only a pastor would laugh at that … And I’ll be honest, in a 1300-member church, I really DON’T believe there are 200.  But there are some …  Are YOU one of the 200?

It never ceases to amaze me that some people thrive and survive on conflict.  You know the type … they are not happy unless they are UNhappy.  So they make it their business to find fault with everything and everyone.  And here is a little secret:  NOTHING and NO ONE but God is perfect.  So if you look closely enough, you WILL FIND imperfections and problems EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK.

So, are you looking??  Do you focus on the negative, or on the positive??  Focussing on the positive is the best way to survive!  Seriously, none of us are perfect.  Why focus on the negative in others when there is so much positive out there??

Don’t get me wrong … this does not give us licenses to bring less than our best to God.  As individuals and as a church, we need to bring our best and give our best every time when come to His altar.  And if we would each focus on OURSELVES and what IS our best, we would all be much better off.

Are you looking for the good or the bad in things?????

I think I can blog this …

23 Jul

It might be obvious that I haven’t blogged much lately.  Or posted to Twitter for that matter …  And, yes, there is a reason.

First of all, Dad seems to be doing a little better.  He was more alert this weekend than I’ve seen him in a long time.  And I was thankful he understood that he couldn’t go to Montgomery … It was also good for Mom to have a chance to get out of town, even if it was just for 30 hours.  I really appreciate my little sister and her husband for coming up and helping this happen by staying with Dad.

The Montgomery trip was … interesting.  But I really enjoyed getting to see my nephew and my niece.  They seemed to really appreciate it!  Jake reports today to Del Rio, Texas.  It will probably be a while before we see him again.

In the past few weeks, some good things have happened at Ebenezer and some hard things.  I guess you have to focus on the good things, and on where God is calling, and press on through the hard ones.  I never will understand the mentality that expects my family to be second-class citizens.  In an ideal world, they would just be seen as who they are!  Just regular church members!  That is one of the toughest things that a pastor ever faces.

This week, our new church administrator began her service to EBC.  And she is already making a difference!  One of the greatest things about this is it will free me up to actually do more MINISTRY!!

A trip to Montgomery

21 Jul

In what seemed like a world record pace, we finally make it down to Montgomery.  Diana and I took Mom; Dad stayed with Elaine and Karl (who flew up from Tampa for this).  It was the first time Mom had done ANYTHING like this.  That, in itself, is a small victory!

The original plan was for Dad to give Jake his first salute from an enlisted man … (Dad was in the Army once upon a time).  But the doctors and therapists told us there was NO WAY he should go on this.  So it was bittersweet …

We did this for Jake.  Other things happened that are probably best not blogged.  It was good to see him before this rollercoaster called the Air Force career begins for him.  We won’t see him for a while now … It was also great to see his sister, Jill.  She has grown into quite a young woman.

All in all, it was a good trip.  But I am really dragging this morning after driving 8 hours!!!!

I HAD to post this!!!

19 Jul

This is today’s entry from Mikey’s Funnies!  Subscribe at http://www.mikeysfunnies.com

****************************

A man went to buy a parrot.  The pet shop owner pointed out three identical parrots and said, “The parrot to the left costs 500 dollars.”

“Why does that parrot cost so much?” the man wondered.

The owner replied, “Well, it knows how to use a computer.”

The man asked about the next parrot.

“That one costs 1,000 dollars because it can do everything the other parrot can do, plus it knows how to use the LINUX operating system.”

Naturally, the startled customer asked about the third parrot.

“That one costs 2,000 dollars.”

“And what does that one do?” the man asked.

The owner replied, “To be honest, I’ve never seen him do a thing, but the other two call him Boss.”

today’sTHOT============================

I did NOT escape. They gave me a day pass.

The Bride of Christ

14 Jul

The Church … Not a church, but THE CHURCH.  The love of God.  Those for whom Jesus Christ died a cruel, inhumane death.  Those for whom He paid the price of salvation.  The church.

I believe with all of my heart the church is under attack.  From a variety of places.

Satan leads the attack.  Sometimes from outside, and sometimes from inside.  He attacks with pride.  He attacks with pop-culture references and public opinions.  It’s funny how the public can so readily form an opinion about things they really don’t understand.  YES, there are elements of the church and elements of living for Christ that can only be understood by those who have a relationship with Him.  And we are attacked for this.

There are others who attack.  Sometimes they don’t even realize it.  Those who bring their own agendas into the local church.  Those who refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit, or even frame their agendas in the frame of a call from God.  (If I walked up to you right now, punched you in the face, and then proclaimed that God called me to do it, would that make it acceptable???)

There are some who lead others in ways that are contrary to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Some who cause damage to the church family without even realize it.  I really believe some of them are NOT doing this intentionally, and would NEVER hurt the church if they realized it.  But they are so focussed on THEIR needs, on THEIR goals, on what THEY want, that they forget to stop and ask God what HE wants for them.  It hurts the church by misleading others, perhaps teaching them things that are contrary to the purpose of the church.  And this is VERY UNHEALTHY.

There are also some who do this quite purposefully.  It always amazes me that there are people on this planet who thrive on conflict.  They are not happy unless they are unhappy.  Some of them enjoy being the victim, and everything that happens in life is the fault of another.  Perhaps they enjoy the attention.  I like peace in life too much to live that way … but that is just me.  A church can be an easy target for controversy and “stirring things up.”  And this, again, is VERY UNHEALTHY.

The healthiest church member is one that treats the church like a family, not like the K&W Cafeteria, picking and choosing which part of God’s word to which they will listen.  The healthiest church member has read Paul’s many descriptions of a healthy church.  One of the things Paul believed in is the gifting of God to the local church.  God gives every church the gifts she needs to do what God calls her to do.  How can we be all God wants us to be if we are treating His church badly?  One of our responsibilities is to find our gift and EXERCISE IT as part of the bigger picture of our church.

Is your church a home??  A family??  Or something else?

THE CHURCH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST AND SHOULD BE TREATED WITH ALL OF THE RESPECT SHE DESERVES.