Thursday, October 27, 2011

October has been quite a month for our part of the family of God.

The month began with ten of our folks traveling to New Orleans to support the work of Global Maritime Ministries. We assisted GMM with their annual fundraising banquet/silent auction and fed and built friendships with seafarers at the center. We also managed to find time for lots of laughter, plenty of good seafood, and a visit to the National Worl War II Museum.

Later in the month two of our older adult Sunday School classes combined forces to prepare a meal and serve about 75 guests at MUST Ministries.

Last Thursday 28 of us traveled to Blue Ridge to enjoy the fall scenery, grab some apples, and enjoy food and fellowship. This was our largest group ever for this outing!

Saturday night 45... or was it 48? youth and friends enjoyed a night at
Cagle's Dairy Farm as we wandered in the corn maze and enjoyed the hayride and bonfire.

Last night's Fall Family Fun Fair was a huge success. Around 200-225 children and families enjoyed a great night of activities and food.

Now, none of these "successes" change the facts that our giving is substantially below budget needs, attendance has been so-so in October, and we have critical leadership needs to be filled. But they do remind me that-
*real fellowship occurs as we share life in service
*others may do things "bigger" but not necessarily "better" and "glitz" can't hold a candle to "genuine"
*we have a tremdous collection of talented and energetic people who love serving
*I love being called "pastor" by this family of faith!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reformation Day Prayer

This Sunday, October 30, is Reformation Day. We baptists are ultimately products (our roots can be traced to England where baptists moved away from the Anglican Church- which was a product of the English reformation- which wouldn't have happened without the protestant reformation) of the faith and tenacity of men like German monk Martin Luther.

Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.
I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.
I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you.
In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have. I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner; you are upright. With me, there is an an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore, I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.

"The Empty Vessel", a prayer by Martin Luther (Eerdman's Book of Famous Prayers)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Glad to be Home!

Even though I was in the office last week I have felt a little out of touch and disconnected by being away the last two Sundays. I was "in church," just not in "my church."

On the first Sunday we were in New Orleans with our adult mission trip. We had to change Sunday plans when the cruise ship was dry-docked and the center closed for the day. We were blessed to share baptism, the Lord's Supper, and a wonderful worship service with First Baptist Church. I confess (and Priscilla will attest) that it isn't easy for me not to squirm when I am in a pew!

Yesterday I was "in the pulpit" as I preached for the 130th anniversary service of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Rome GA. I served this church as Associate Pastor/Minister of Youth & Children for two years before going to seminary. FABC is the church that ordained me thirty years ago and is also the church where Priscilla and I were married. It was a bittersweet trip down memory lane as we visited with friends from days past and missed those who had died, moved, or for various reasons moved to other churches in the community.

It was good to be away but is good to be back and will be even better when I can worship with "my church" this Sunday. We don't have the size, facilities, or other resources of First Baptist Church of New Orleans. We don't have the history and heritage of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Rome. What we do have is an incredibly gifted and loving collection of families in our family, motivated with a desire to serve, and blessed by a faithful God.

I can't wait for Sunday!