Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big News?

Southern Baptists have been in the news again recently.  Nothing new there. Though this time, the SBC was seen in a positive light, maybe that is news in itself!

Rev. Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, has been elected as the first African-American to serve as president of the SBC. For a denomination birthed in the slavery controversy, this is good news.

Sunday, as I looked across our gathering I was reminded of what we sometimes take for granted. Our church family is a grand mosaic of ages, colors, languages, and backgrounds. Those distinctions have not hindered anyone from serving in leadership as ministers, deacons, or ministry leaders--- we even allow men to teach in Vacation Bible School!  

It's nice to be in a church where leadership is gift-based... where men and women; black, white, and brown, younger and older; single or married can lead in worship and serve in ministry. That's not big news around here... but it's Good News!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In Praise of Vacation Bible School

It's a little, no, make that a lot, quiet around the church this afternoon. We have completed four days of Vacation Bible School, are wrapping-up plans for Family Night, and are readying the finishing touches for Friday.  This week I have been reminded again of the importance of VBS.

It is obviously an important week for the 150+ children who have participated.  They've heard Bible stories, built friendships, sang some great songs, experienced the joy of creating, and consumed lots and lots of snacks.  Seeds have been planted that will nourish their souls for a lifetime. My prayers is that their families will encourage this growth in the days ahead.

This has been an important week for our church.  We have stretched our facilities and people resources to their limits.  Each day we have had over 225 children and workers in the building.  I am impressed by workers of all ages who have committed their time and energy to providing a great experience for their students. Along the way they have discovered new gifts... and some new, sore muscles!

It has also been an important week for me.  I have enjoyed my time on the floor with 15 four year-olds- though it is getting a bit more difficult to get up!  I am blessed and fortunate to be called pastor by a church that so generously invests its gifts in service to children and our community.

I remember that many of my earliest memories of church, God, and the Bible were shaped in Vacation Bible School.  In VBS I learned the stories of how God loved people and how that love was expressed through people. For many of us participation in Vacation Bible School is a trip down memory lane... that winds-up on the highway to the future!

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Are We There, Yet?"

How many times did we excitedly ask "are we there, yet?" as children?  And how many times have we wearily answered as adults?

My Dad used to answer, "just around the next curve" or "just over the next hill." Traveling south Florida's flat. straight roads meant "curves" and "hills" tended to be few and far between!

A friend once told me that the vacation begins when you back out of the driveway- not when you get to your destination. Do we sometimes miss possibilities because we're so focused on the finish line?

Does it help to know where "there" is? "There" could be Disney World, the beach, a certain car, a key promotion... or a new building.

How will we know when we're there? Sometimes in the journey of life and faith it's not as easy as "x-marks the spot" or following mapquest. I have always been intrigued by God's instructions to Abram to "get packed and go to a land I will show you."  In other words, I will let you know where "there" is... when you get there.  God trusted Abram with a call... and Abram trusted God with a response.