Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Reflections

I couldn't wait till my pastor prayer letter comes out this week to share this so I'll write it here.  I knew what was coming.  I'd watched them rehearse and was a part of the planning.  I knew what was coming.  But there was something amazing and wonderful watching OUR veterans stand with their flags.  Almost all of them were WWII vets, but they stood, proud and smart with stiff salutes, honoring their own past and their comrades.  I was overwhelmed!  To see the honor they took in being a part of that portion of our service blessed me beyond measure.  A simple thanks is insufficient, but I'll say it anyway - Thanks vets and vets families for your sacrifice and service.  We are who we are because of how God used you. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A chance to practice what I preached - literally

I can't remember a time when I've been more excited about the direction we're headed as a church!  While there are still numerous challenges that lie ahead of us, I'm fired up about the transforming power of the Gospel I see all around us!  This monring was a great example of it - spirit filled singing, powerful prayer time for our man Greg and although I'm not at all sure how it came across, I had a blast preaching!  If you remember, one of the things I made specific mention of was careful use of your words.  "From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" Jesus said. 

Imagine my surprise when I got an unsigned note criticizing me, the staff and the church in general.  The person who wrote, whoever it was, wrote that "God had told them to tell me."  Literally, my mouth fell open as I realized God was giving me the chance to demonstrate EXACTLY what I just professed.  I embraced my own counsel immediately - and threw the note away.  Essentially, the criticism was that I don't care about people.  I don't love people.  I don't care about the church or her people.  Biblically speaking, to be in accordance with Matthew 18's conflict resolution formula, such a critique isn't to be done anonymously, but face-to-face with the hope of healing the relationship.  And God wouldn't violate His own Word, so I doubt seriously God told whoever this was to write me. 

So why tell you about it at all?  Because I want you to join me in EXPECTING these kind of things.  Satan will certainly throw them at us.  To be clear, I'm not accusing this person of being Satanic because they were critical of me, but I am trying to be equally clear that with our tongues, we can all be used as tools in Satan's arsenal to bring discouragement, to bring discord, to break harmony, to create bitterness.  Our words can be powerful tools - let's make sure we're using them for the right reasons and in the right way.  So realize the power of what your say - and what you don't say.