Friday, June 25, 2010

What Makes Church?

This week I heard a message about Church:  What Makes Church?  It was presented by Ergun Caner at SuperWow in Ft. Walton.

It was based on Mark 2:1-12.  This is the story of the paralyzed man who is let down through the roof by 4 friends who want Jesus to heal Him.

Here are the 4 things that make church:

1.  Jesus was in the midst.  He needs to be there.  That is what makes church "church":  The Presence of Christ!

2.  He preached the Word to them.  This is in verse 2.  "and He preached the Word to them."  We don't know exactly what He talked about.  But it was a big crowd, hanging out the door.

3.  People were bringing their friends.  These friends were Warriors.  And there are 2 things about warriors:  a)  a warrior NEVER takes credit - we don't know anymore about the 4 guys except that they were great friends to have.   b)  a warrior never takes "No" for an answer - they didn't let a huge crowd stand in their way.  (I bet they fixed the roof before they left, too!)

4.  Someone will complain.  I know:  this isn't very uplifting.  But it just goes to show that where ever Jesus is, the father of lies is hard at work.  It's nothing new.  But it didn't stop Jesus.  He went right on doing what he was doing.  And the people were amazed!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The BIG Thing

Our challenge at camp this year is to find one big thing that grabs us.

I think I heard my Big Thing tonight.  And I am surprised that it seemed to be an unplanned statement from the lead singer in the band.  He was talking about the staff at his church and that the men held each other accountable.  Then he mentioned that they were reading a book called "Jim and Casper Go to Church" and discussing it.  Briefly, it's about a preacher (Jim Henderson) and an atheist (Matt Casper) who visit churches together and exchange impressions.  At some point in the book, the atheist makes the observation that this Jesus that they talk about is a man of action, not just talk.  He's always DOING something.

That grabbed me.  We, as Christians, are supposed to be DOING things, not just waiting for God to do something.  And certainly not waiting for someone else to do something for us.  We have the Gift, the Good News.  And we have the Holy Spirit with us always.  What are we waiting for?  What else do we need?  We're waiting to see God's will?

But we already know what his will is, don't we.  It's to go and make disciples.  We are to be warriors like those 4 men who dug a hole in the roof to let their paralyzed friend have access to Jesus.  We are to be stretcher bearers, bringing broken ones the ONE who can make them whole.  That's it.  That's all we really need to know to get started.  He'll give us the rest on a need to know basis.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reflections from the Journey

I had not actually been looking forward to my first road trip on my own bike.  I wasn't dreading it, I was simply ignoring it.  I knew that if I thought about it, I would scare myself.  So I put it out of mind until it was upon me.

I had several concerns about being on the road:  1.  Would I be able to maintain a cruising speed on that little bike?  2.  Would I remember to check mirrors for surrounding traffic as often as needed?

As it turns out, I needn't have worried.  Yes, the speed thing took some concentration, but that's because Hwy 98 has lots of hills and you have to actively 'speed up' to get up a hill and remember to 'slow down' as you're coming down the other side.  I was able to keep it between 65 and 70 without much trouble.  It was mainly the novelty of maintaining speed with my wrist/palm/fingers rather than my foot.  And I wasn't surprised by any vehicles moving past me on the road.  Well, once I looked in the mirror and didn't see Mr. H behind me, but a split second later I caught him out of the corner of my eye, moving to take the lead into Laurel.

It's difficult to explain exactly what it's like to be out on the road like that.  I tried to think of other things than the ride itself, but couldn't do it!  Not that I really WANTED to think of anything else, just to see if I could.  There is so much to experience.

You know when you pass through a grove of mimosa trees.

You are certain there is honeysuckle growing on that fence.

You don't need to see any buzzards to know something dead is in that ditch!

We got off 98 onto 15 and went through Richton up to Laurel.  We went through town in Laurel rather than take the interstate around it.  I'm not quite ready for interstate travel.  Mr. H wanted to try Hwy 501 and it was a beautiful ride.  We were looking for 481 that we discovered last weekend.  At one point we got to an intersection on Marathon-Morton Road and I pulled up beside Mr. H.  He lifted his visor and said, "I have no idea where we are."  I just laughed.  If he didn't, I CERTAINLY didn't.  But generally a road with two place names in it will take you to those places.  And that was the case this time, too.

As I was riding along, it hit me suddenly what I was doing.  Have you ever had one of those moments that seemed to surprise you by your being there?  I remember having this feeling several times in my life.  The first time was the moment I realized I could read music.  I remember the exact moment the light bulb came on and all those dots became a language I could read.  (It was the introduction to "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and I was in the 7th grade.)  Another time it happened was when I was on the field in a halftime show with the Maroon Band.  I was standing in my place and the announcer was announcing something and the crowd was cheering and the thought ran through my head, "Wow!  How did I manage to get HERE?!"

It happened on this trip, that feeling of "Wow!  Look at me!  I NEVER thought I'd be here doing this!" That thought was immediately followed by a prayer of thanksgiving for the man who seems to have such incredible expectations for my abilities.  In fact, I was in the middle of talking to my Lord, when Mr. H suddenly made a right turn onto another road that I wasn't expecting.

"Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this man who loves me so much and wants me to do so many......Oh,Man!Hejustturnedoffrightthereandexpectsmetobeabletofollowwithoutanypreparation.......

And I was able to do that, too!

It occurred to me on this trip how much joy we steal from those we love by not letting them do things and call it "protecting" them.  If someone is prepared for an undertaking, has been trained what to expect, what to look out for, will have supervision (at least in the initial stages), don't deny them the joy of the adventure.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scenes from the Inside

There's only so much you can tell from the outside of the new building anymore.  It pretty much looks done from there.  Right now the real excitement is on the inside.

There is color on the walls of the east side rooms.  
Here's a view of the green room.  You can see the overhead lighting is in, too.

And here's a blue room, complete with matching wheelbarrow!

This is a double green room.  It will have a retractable wall 
(you can see the track on the ceiling just left of the bump out of the wall.)

And the orange room.

This is one side of the kitchen.....
.....and this is the other side with the pass through window.

It is impossible to give you an idea of the scale of this room.  It is enormous!  
The children will use this room for large group worship on Sunday mornings,
and it's the new home of KidStuf.

This is just getting started.  It's the upstairs for the youth and recently-no-longer youth.
Looks rather dark and scary now....
but it won't be long before it's the home away from home for a bunch of people.

These guys have done a tremendous job.....and can walk on stilts, too!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Overwhelmed by Praise

Have you ever been overwhelmed by praise?

It happened to me last night.Our VBS Family Night packed the sanctuary:  over 200 children and probably that many adults and youth.  We sang quite a few songs, but the one that stands out in my mind is called "Rise and Sing".
Our God is risen and reigning 
and we're elevating 
the glory of our God and King
Everybody rise and sing

Then we saw the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal acted out on stage.  When God's fire consumed Elijah's offering, the crowd erupted with cheers.  That didn't happen the first time we saw the skit.  But it did last night.  

Then, after the VBS festivities, we had choir practice.  

That sounds so ho-him and normal, doesn't it?  

For me, it was anything but.....

We sang a song called "Praise To the Lord, the Almighty."  It's a hymn you probably know if you are Baptist and over 30.  This particular arrangement has a repeating tag at the end of several verses:

Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord

There was something about those words last night that made them different, made them ......

....... true.........

...................... alive................


It was an amazing evening for me.  

And now that I've tasted it, I want more.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Open Door Policy

This turtle showed up at the church this afternoon.

She parked right next to Mark's car.
Here's a close up of the shell.  The maintenance guru says this is a gopher tortoise (gopherus polyphemus).  I believe this is a female because when he turned her over to count segments on the underside of the shell, it looked pretty flat, whereas males have a concave plastron.  There is a lot of dried red dirt on her top shell.

I think she wanted in because when Mark opened the door, she headed that way.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stallion on the Road

A few weeks ago, we were headed to Mobile.  I caught sight of something odd in  the side mirror and got one of the girls to take a picture.  
It looks like a trike, but the wheels didn't seem right. 
And I didn't see any bars and thought the driver's hand position looked a little odd.  

No wonder!!  The thing has a steering wheel and a shifter like an automatic car.

It even has a trunk!!

This is the only Stallion I've ever seen on the road.