Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Grateful Good-bye

This week find ourselves saying good-bye to Trey and Jen Lyon after nine years of service on our ministry staff. I approach this task with a range of emotions: sadness to see a friend and partner-in-ministry depart; excitement over their new ministry opportunity; a bit of pride over Trey's development and growth; but mostly, a sense of gratitude.

I am grateful for the gifts and abilities that Trey shared so generously with our church and community. He is a great teacher and faithful guide for our youth. His technology skills have enhanced our worship, outreach, communication abilities, and general operations as a church.

I am grateful for his passion and commitment to mission and missions. Trey made a decision that even "fun" activities should have a mission component. Our youth have grown to understand that service is a significant component of faith. Our annual mission trip to work with Community Servants- at what we now call "Camp Wherry"- is a week that our youth look forward to, that the leaders of the mission look forward to our coming, and even better- the folks of that housing community eagerly anticipate! From orphans in Bulgaria to the homeless in Atlanta to the needy in our own community- Trey has helped us see and minister to the needs of others. We have a generation of youth and young adults who see life, faith, and service differently because of Trey's influence.

I am grateful for a fellow minister from a different generation, who "thinks younger" than me. For nine years Trey has been a valued sounding board, engaging conversationalist- about current events and church history, and creative worship planner. Because of Trey I am much less insecure about right-clicking on my mouse!

I am grateful for Jen and Gabe. Too often we overlook a minister's spouse. Gifted in her own right, Jen has shared generously with our children's choirs, as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School volunteer, worship leader, counselor and friend to youth and adults.

I am grateful that Trey and Jen have remained open to God's leadership in their future ministry. They are following what they sense to be God's direction to leave a "safe" place of ministry to take the risk of stepping into a much-less secure future. They have found their security not in established buildings, budgets, or bureaucracy but in the assurance of God's calling and provision.

Thank-you God for Trey and Jen: for who they are, for what they've done, and for the exciting future you have in store for them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Kingdom Beyond Our Corner

We are privileged to be a part of a local community of faith that gathers for worship, discipleship, and fellowship at a strategic intersection in Kennesaw, Georgia. From this location we regularly scatter to share the Good News in word and action-- mission and ministry, if you will.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a good reminder that we are a part of Kingdom-work far beyond our little corner in Kennesaw:

During the day we hosted a regional training event for Stonecroft Ministries. Delores Burkett has been a local leader in Stonecroft for a number of years. Perhaps best know for its Christian Women's Clubs, Stonecroft is focused on ministry and evangelism with women. website:

Over supper our Bulgaria Mission team members met to review plans for their upcoming trip. Hyacinth Crooks, Teresa Denmark and Lorraine Roote (joined by Tom & Lorraine's daughter, Patti) will be serving with missionaries Paul & Judy Ridgway as they prepare for the opening of the Training and Transition Center in Borovtsi. website:

Our prayer service time was blessed by a presentation about opportunities for service in Rwanda. Linda Cox (Mark Trimble's cousin)and her family shared of work among children and refugees that was both heart-wrenching and encouraging. You can find out more about the work and ways to support through the following websites:

Most Sundays at least one of our scripture readings is a text from the common lectionary- which means that it is being read in worship services around the world. Yesterday's events remind us of opportunities to partner with others for service and evangelism. Let's be faithful... on our corner... and across His kingdom.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Martyr's Prayer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in Germany who was executed by the Nazi regime. The prayer below was written for Christmas 1943 for his fellow prisoners:

O God,
Early in the morning I cry unto you.
Help me to pray and to think only of you.
I cannot pray alone.
In me there is darkness but with you there is light.
I am lonely but you leave me not.
I am feeble in heart but you leave me not.
I am restless but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience.
Your ways are past understanding,
but you know the way for me.
O heavenly Father,
I praise and thank you for the peace of the night.
I praise and thank you for this new day.
I praise and thank you for all your goodness and faithfulness throughout my life.
You have granted me many blessings:
Now let me accept tribulations from your hand.
You will not lay on me more than I can bear.
You make all things work together for good
For your children.

(The Doubleday Prayer Collection, p.287)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Little Things

My Dad always said it was "the little things" that made a business successful. It's "the little things" that make a big difference at church as well.

Week by week I am blessed... and many others are as well- by folks who:

-help guests find a seat
-bring in extra seats when needed
-seek out guests to greet and make welcome
-clean-out the coffee pots
-cross the generational divide to speak to a fellow worshiper
-take out the trash
-jump in to help when an activity is short-handed
-put a little extra in the offering- just because
-offer a smile to a squirmy child
-clean a counter-top or wash a coffee cup (even if the mess wasn't theirs!)
-ask "how are you, today?" and really mean it

Most of the time these "little things" are done without asking!

Help me out- what "little things" done by big-hearted people have I missed?