This is a fine way to be starting 2017.
My 2017 calendar has already been messed up. I am not sure who is responsible. 🙂 Someone arranged for the carpet cleaners to clean our pews today. The daycare and office are supposed to be closed. Whoever is responsible for this scheduling error needs to be a little more careful when setting and scheduling appointments.
I arrived at church early. Who knew people were moving around Kennett at 8am. After a few quick words of introduction he was off to work and I headed to my office.
Church was strangely quiet. No children on their way to daycare yelling down the hall, “Hello Pastor Dan”. Working in this shell of a place was odd.
I spent time wrapping up 2016 and looking forward to 2017.
In the midst of my work I prepared a journal to record whatever 2017 has in store for our family. 2016 was filled with surprises and yet we were still able to see God’s faithfulness time and time again. I am eagerly anticipating God’s faithfulness no matter what 2017 holds. [Read more…]
A few years ago I was serving at Church in the Acres. It was a communion Sunday and I had put together a special video to play while the congregation shared that special time together. Shawn and Ray were working the sound booth that day. I gave Shawn a DVD with two videos I had prepared on it. One titled “In Your Eyes” and the other “Communion”. I told him to play “Communion” as soon as I got done with my introduction to that part of the service.
The service began and we worked our way towards communion. I got up and led us toward the table and prayed over the elements. Once done I took my seat in the front row and waited for the video to start.
Sitting there quietly this is what started to play on the big screen…
Looking over my shoulder I saw Shawn standing in the sound booth with a surprised look on his face. He threw his arms up, smiled and went let the video run.
Following worship I had two or three people come up and say it was one of the most special communion services they ever participated in. God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good…even when the wrong video plays. [Read more…]
Many, many years ago I wrote a paper for one of my high school english classes. I am not sure what the assignment was but I chose to write about some of the televangelists of the day (late 80’s) and how they were warping the message of the gospel and preying on people for their money. I have always resisted any type of ministry that even came close to what they seemed to be about. There is a passage in the gospels where Jesus speaks rather harshly and directly to those spiritual leaders who lead people astray. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (NIV Matthew 18:6)
Generations ago my family owned a grist mill. I know what a millstone looks like. I do not swim well on my own…let alone with a large stone hung around my neck. This passage has always served to give me pause as I step into the pulpit, stand in front of a group to speak, or meet with someone for coffee to talk about life. I understand the calling. I understand the responsibility and I do not ever want to do anything to lead someone astray. [Read more…]
Vision, a picture of a preferable future. George Barna shared this definition of vision in his book Turnaround Churches. For some reason Mr. Barna’s definition spoke to me and I have used it throughout my ministry when talking about vision. A personal vision, a communities vision is a picture not of what is…but of what could be.
Nancy and I have been married twenty six years. When Nancy first came around my families home in New Baltimore, NY my father had a vision. He wanted trees on a piece of property that he owned across from his house. He went and got tiny little seedlings and began to plant…not for today, but for the future. Nancy laughed at his trees. To be honest there were a lot of people who gave my dad a hard time. These trees were less than the Charlie Brown type trees. They were basically twigs with a little green on them. Their current reality did not stop my dad. He had a vision of what could be.
The ground was hard. Digging a hole to plant the trees (twigs) with a shovel was not an option. Armed with a large metal bar my Dad went and began to drill small holes into the ground. These holes were just big enough for a little dirt and the twigs. One of Dad’s neighbors, Mr. Stafford, watched as the seedlings were planted one by one. Mr. Stafford was one of the funniest men to ever live. Dad was hard at work planting when all of a sudden from across the street he heard someone shout, “Timber!” [Read more…]