Monday, January 31, 2011

An Investment in the Future

There was a sense of symmetry in Sunday's service. Like most times we gather for worship we enjoyed a variety of more contemporary and traditional musical styles, heard the reading of scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments, and were led in worship by both men and women, younger and older. But there was something more than that this week.

Early in the service we shared in a time of dedication for Jimmy and Julie Whitfield and their infant daughter, Emma (with big sister Lily along for support). We made promises as church and parents to love and encourage this new life towards God's future for her.

Later in the service we heard a powerful word of testimony from Collin Ross about his winter break mission experience in Haiti. I was touched by both what Collin had to say and how he said it. Now a college junior, Collin was a toddler when he and his family became a part of the Towne View family.

Between preschool and UGA there have been extended session volunteers, Sunday School teachers, Mission Friends leaders, choir workers, youth ministers, retreat chaperons, Vacation Bible School workers, and parents and grandparents who have encouraged him in his faith journey. Along the way he was given opportunities to discover his gifts and develop his skills in becoming a servant-leader.

Collin concluded his remarks with an expression of gratitude for a church family that encouraged his desire to want to do something like this mission trip. I am already looking forward to the story that one day Emma might have to share!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

deacons to Deacons

Sunday was a good day for our church as we ordained three new deacons. We don't do many hour and a half long services here so things may have felt a bit rushed towards the end. I hope you will indulge me the opportunity to reflect on some things I said during the service.

The act of ordination says something about those being ordained to the ministry of deacon. The act of ordination says that we see in them a depth of faith, sincerity of spirit, giftedness for service, and desire to minister that sets them apart as deacons.

The ordination of Matt, Hyacinth, and John also says something about our church. These three and their families came to us through neighborhood contact, the invitation/insistence of a friend, and the recommendation of a friend-of-a-friend. They represent the diversity of our church: black and white, male and female, new members and long-term investors in our ministry. As I watched the long line of folks pass by to bless them through the laying-on-of-hands I saw men and women, mothers, children, wives, brothers,friends,folks from the four corners of the globe called to this place to be church for one another.

Ultimately the service said something about God. We serve a God who gifts His children for service and the empowers us to use those gifts in service to the church and community. These gifts, and the responsibilities that accompany them, aren't just for the elite or extraordinary but for folks like Matt and Hyacinth and John and you and me.

My closing thoughts for the service came from 1Corinthians 1:1-9
** God has given us grace
**God has enriched us, gifted us, for service
**God will strengthen us as we serve
**God is faithful!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let it snow!

Reactions to our wintry weather have been varied... and interesting:

Sunday afternoon on my way home from church I snatched the last gallon of milk off the shelf.. not feeling guilty at all!

One of Thomas' room mates, a Chicago native, snarled "what are all these people so hyped about- it's just a little snow!"

Monday morning a neighbor walked about a mile to get a newspaper- only to find the convenience store closed!

By Tuesday afternoon another neighbor walked even further to get to out of her house (I mean to get to a coffee shop).

Wednesday night I realized that being at church on Wednesdays does not cause me to miss-out on any good television shows.

On the way into the office Thursday morning the radio news guy informed us that orthopedic surgeons are busy this week and obstetricians expect to be booming in early October!

The cardinals outside my window are beautiful but I wonder--- when are the robins coming?