Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lessons to be (re)learned

"Sometimes I sits and thinks... sometimes I just sits."

I'm not certain who to credit for the quote but it is certainly worth sitting and thinking on for a time.

I'm in a somewhat reflective state of mind today because it was on June 28 last year that we caught the plane for our study leave in London. I spent almost a year getting me (and the church) getting ready for what turned-out to be an unforgettable month of rest, reflection, and renewal.

It has been exciting to have those "hey, we were there" moments while watching a television show, movie... or royal wedding. I have maintained my interest in Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church through their website and e-mail correspondence with their minister. Priscilla, Elizabeth, and I find ourselves regularly sharing "London memories." I remain incredibly grateful for the opportunity that our church family provided us.

In looking back, I am reminded what a slow learner I am. It is at this point that I ask you to pray for me and possibly even join me in the journey:

I stay too busy. Time away from our routines and responsibilities is important- even God took a day-off! Busy-ness does not always equal productivity. We are in the midst of a complex and busy season in our church (and in my family as well) but I still need to discipline myself to "be still and know (maybe remember) that He is God."

I don't read enough. When we went through orientation at seminary Dr. Ronald Deering, the director of the library, told us "in the class rooms you will learn from some of the brightest scholars of this generation, when you come to this library you will learn from the best minds of the ages." I haven't read as many books in the eleven months since we returned as I did in the month of my study leave. I need to engage with others to reinforce what I know and to challenge what I thought I knew- books are a great way to accomplish this.

I need to take better advantage of what's around me.
I don't need to go overseas to find a beautiful park, lovely lake, interesting museum, or experience God in new patterns of worship. Now- all of these were wonderful gifts that I experienced in London- but they are available to me here in north Georgia. Maybe I need to make a new list of "sights to see and places to be."

As I said... I'm a slow learner...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Prayer for Attentive Prayer

Our God and Father, draw us to Thyself by Thy Spirit, and may the few minutes that we spend in prayer be full of the true spirit of supplication. Grant that none of us with closed eyes may yet be looking abroad over the fields of vanity, but may our eyes be really shut to everything else now but that which is spiritual and Divine. May we have communion with God in the secret of our hearts, and find Him to be to us as a little sanctuary.

O, Lord, we do not find it easy to get rid of distracting thoughts, but we pray Thee to help us draw the sword against them and drive them away, and as when the birds cam down upon his sacrifice Abraham drove them away, so may we chase away all cares, all thoughts of pleasure, everything else, whether it be pleasing or painful, that would keep us away from real fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

from C. H. Spurgeon's Prayers

Now, let's pray!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Changing the Landscape

Work has begun in earnest on the the University Club on Frey student housing development. With plans to open in August 2012 the developers anticipate about 450 students will occupy the townhouse-style facility.

Right now, things are a mess- a noisy, dusty, active mess. Heavy equipment is in and out, trees are down and gone, and they haven't even started moving dirt, yet... other than the swirling red-clay dust. It takes a lot of work to build something new and the landscape has to change for us to see beyond familiar surroundings to a new view of the future.

With all of this going on around us there is much work going on in our church as well. This work is just as active, almost as noisy, and also involves kicking-up some dust.

Our mission team to Bulgaria is back and our Builders for Christ will soon be on their way to Utah. Ben Gribble is already in Cambodia. Plans are well underway for our youth mission trip to Camp Wherry in Smyrna TN and for our children's camp at Centri-kid in Norman Park GA.

Daniel Rice is on-the-go as our summer youth ministry assistant. He's off to a great start working on plans for Camp Wherry, supervising Vacation Bible School recreation, Sunday/Tuesday/Wednesday youth events, and other opportunities for our youth. I am grateful the Lord led Daniel our way and invite you to pray for him and support him in whatever ways possible.

Oh yes- it's the week before Vacation Bible School- need I say more? Enrollment is approaching 140 children- which means we'll probably have at least 150 participants. I encourage your prayers for these children, their families, and for our witness to the community. Pray also for our VBS director, Melanie Connell, and for all of our volunteers.

Pray for me- I am trying something new in my approach to preaching for the summer. This summer I will be preaching through the book of 1Peter. I haven't done this type of exposition in a while so I would appreciate your prayers. You can help me by reading through 1Peter regularly- you could read one chapter a day each week through the summer to "prime your pump" as we explore God's word together.