Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ideas for a New Year

I have never been a big fan of making new year's resolutions. I wonder if that's because I haven't been very good at keeping them...

Instead, allow me to throw-out some ideas for spiritual health for the new year:

Daily- take time to read your Bible and pray. There are an abundance of daily devotional guides available at bookstores or even on-line if you prefer an electronic format. We used to call them "quiet times-" it's amazing what a few moments of talking and listening with God can mean for your day.

Weekly- make a commitment to small group Bible study- we call it Sunday School! You can read the material for that week's study, pray for your class leaders, and call an absentee to enrich your experience and strengthen your class.

Monthly- plan an activity to build a relationship. You can make it a lunch or coffee meeting, have a couple over for dinner or go to a movie, be creative! The idea is to be intentional about building or strengthening the relationship-- which opens the door for future ministry opportunities.

Quarterly- do something for someone else! Make a visit, help a neighbor, call the shut-in, share the meal, you get the idea: invest your resources (most importantly TIME)in someone else. Double the pleasure-- take your child or grandchild with you!

Annually- get involved in a mission activity. Take a morning, a day or a week and share yourself with others in the name of Christ. Our church will be providing a wide variety of opportunities for mission involvement this year- find one that's a good fit for your interests and schedule-- or even stretch yourself!

Wishing you a blessed 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

God With Us

I have said many times over the years that my favorite name for Jesus is "Emmanuel- God with us." In this simple title we found the depths of the meaning of Christmas.

My family has certainly experienced this reality as we have dealt with the tragic death of my nephew, Kyle Conrad. My brother and his wife and daughters, my parents, and our part of the clan have been sustained by God's loving care and supported by the prayers, comfort, and love and so many. In times of crisis we experience "God with skin-on" through the presence of others.

Below is a portion of the prayer that I offered at the Sunday celebration service:

Wonderful Counselor, we look to you for direction as we step into a new and different future.

Mighty God, we prayer for strength as we carry our grief and bear one another's burdens.

Everlasting Father, we claim the gift of hope-- confident of your love and that by faith death does not have the last word.

Prince of Peace, bring wholeness to mend our brokenness, joy to overcome our sorrow, and comfort to our weary souls.

Through Christ our Lord... Emmanuel. Amen.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Hymn

Those who know me know that I don't pretend to know much about music... except that I enjoy it! This week I discovered an old (written in 1735) advent hymn with the instruction that it was to be played joyfully. Which reminded me that all of this season is to be played and sung and lived... joyfully.

Hark, the glad sound, the Savior comes,the Savior promised long:
Let every heart prepare a throne, and every heart a song.

He comes the prisoners to release, in Satan's bondage held:
The gates of brass before Him burst, the iron fetters yield.

He comes, the broken heart to bind, the bleeding soul to cure,
And would with treasures of His grace enrich the humble poor.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace, Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven's eternal arches ring with Thy beloved name.

Thanks be to God--- joyfully!

Monday, December 6, 2010


We celebrated Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago but I didn't want to miss opportunity to say "thanks" for your giving! Our November gifts included:

*$36,323.25 in budget gifts (bringing our 2010 year-to-date budget receipts to $423,759.43-- 97% of our ministry budget goal!)

*56 shoe boxes filled-to-the-brim with gifts for children around the world through Operation Christmas Child

*distribution of 10 Thanksgiving meals through Storehouse ministries

*provision of turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving dinner for the residents of Laurel's Edge Senior Living apartments

*75 packages of cake and brownie mixes and 40 personal care items were donated in support of the mission trip to New Orleans to work with Global Maritime Ministries

*$480.51 was received for our world hunger offering which will be distributed through the Baptist World Alliance

*$1,165.00 was received for the benevolence offering after our most recent communion service

*all 25 children we will assist through Angel Tree have already been "spoken for"

On behalf of our ministry partners and as a grateful pastor, let me say again, "thanks for giving!"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Adventures in Being Temporarily Misdirected

We have been in New Orleans less than forty-eight hours and have found ourselves temporarily misdirected on several occasions. Hence, a couple of observations:

It is more fun being temporarily misdirected in daytime than at night.

Maps and mapquest are helpful for the temporarily misdirected but expect too much of the user.

It is comforting, even enjoyable, to be temporarily misdirected with friends.

Being temporarily misdirected can expose you to all sorts of wonderful sights and experiences that might have been missed otherwise.

Today we served lunch for a port safety workers group, tonight we are sharing hospitality ministry with a group of Filipino seafarers, and tomorrow we will help host a series of cruise ship workers. I am glad that our group, and our church, can help support the efforts of Global Maritime Ministries as they share good news... and directions for life... with temporarily misdirected seafarers!