Monday, November 19, 2007

Long Time No Blog!

Wow... Has it really been over a week since I last blogged? To be honest, it felt more like just a few days. I have been busy and a lot has happened, but it still didn't feel like that long.

We had a wonderful day on yesterday (Sunday). The Lord was especially kind to my family and I. The congregation took it upon themselves to "surprise" us with an "Appreciation Service." The year was a bit turbulent. Subsequently, the usual time to officially commemorate my Pastoral Anniversary had come and gone.(August) I really had conceded that the Lord would be faithful in successive years and basically had the attitude "Better Luck next time." But, there is a group of amazing people at our church that have the right kind of heart. They, prompted by the Holy Spirit, yielded themselves to prepare a true expression of love and appreciation. My heart and determination were strengthened as a result of this time.

I was so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude that I could hardly preach. I seek to make no excuses for what I consider to be one of my flatest sermon presentations in a long time. (Since my time at Cornerstone in Houston Texas, actually) I was well read, studied, prepared and rested. However, it just didn't seem to get off of the ground. But, something amazing happened. We extended the "opportunity of the church" and 9 people came forward. There were 9 for membership. One of the nine is also a candidate for water baptism. God is so amazing and I thank Him with a sincere heart. This just goes to show, once again, that my definition of "flunkersville" my not necessarily be what God says it is. I am thankful that He is still granting our ministry to have some degree of fruitfulness.

Anyway... I am glad to be back on the blog and am committing myself to posting at least once a day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Try Again Tomorrow

Quite frankly... Today was a rough day. Just never really got my stride. I feel good about some of the things I accomplished as a whole. So, I'm not complaining. Just one of those days...

As for positive and productive posting... Try Again Tomorrow

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Incline My Heart

Just got in from another Wednesday night Bible Study. I believe that Lord was faithful once again in speaking to our hearts. I am always critical of the crowd (or lack thereof) but have come to really appreciate those with the desire to know more about God through the ministry of corporate bible study.

Tonight we continued to verse 36 of Psalm 119. "Incline my heart to your testimonies and not toward selfish gain."

I won't commence to teach the lesson again on this blog, but I thank God for the opportunity to share this particular series of messages and lessons. God is speaking to our church in an unique and unusual way right now and I am praying for the diligence to be a good steward of every preaching and teaching opportunity. Thus far it appears as if our labor in this Psalm has proven to trod past the superficial and guide toward practical principles that we can apply in our lives individually and corporately.

Lord, thank you for what you have done, are doing, and will do. Continue to "incline my heart toward your testimonies and not toward selfish gain."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Beyond the First Visit

I just returned from the Post Office. I actually went there to mail out letters to the guests we had with us in worship on Sunday. The Lord has really been blessing us to see several new families in attendance for the last consecutive five to six weeks. I have had an opportunity to speak with each of the families and they all seem to really like our congregation and the experience they've had thus far.

For me as Pastor, this presents a heightened sense of "urgency." My chief prayer has been that God would send new family units our way. Now that He has been faithful in answering that plea, I feel as if maybe we have not quite done everything we should in order to increase the possibility of these families staying and joining with us in ministry. This has caused me to go back to my bookshelf and pull down a little book I bought several months ago. I'll admit... I gave it a look over and never really read it in depth. Man... I can actually say that McIntosh really scores big in the area of providing practical suggestions for helping your guests make a transition into a permanent place in your ministry.

Yes, like many other church "how to" books, there are some things that wax a bit "cheesy" or unrealistic to be applied to our context. However, I thought I would suggest this book to those who have often asked (as have I) "what can I do above sending the usual 'it was a blessing to have you with us on this past Lord's day.'?" This book has been a refreshing read and is not too "lofty." It is concise enough for me to have read it since yesterday and still have time to get to the "weightier" reads that will be necessary for the weekend. Wow... Sunday's coming.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Order My Steps

Won't be long today. Today is my 12th Wedding Anniversary and am preparing to share the afternoon with my girlfriend of 15+ years.

The Lord is really blessing our ministry at "The Ship." We seem to be entering a new season, or shall I say another level, of possibility and promise. Of course, things are still rough and a struggle. However, God seems to be allowing us to see some return on our diligence to effect a change in the congregation.

Worship service, I must admit, seemed to start with a unusually solemn tone. I am glad that I allowed the admonitions of my parents to kick in. I realized that what they said is true. "Many times what we mistake for a dead crowd is really just an indication of a reverent, intentional and reflective worship opportunity." Wow... Everything was wonderful. The Lord showed His face as we sought Him.

We were able to share again from Psalm 119. This week we were on verse 35, "Make me walk in the path of your ways, for I delight in them." The subject was simply, "Order my Steps." Basically, life as a Christian is like walking a tight rope. Our chief concern is to seek BALANCE through God and His word. This is what the Psalmist was seeking. (Only my feeble opinion) Why else would he pray for the Lord to "Make" him do what he already "delighted in." I have to MAKE my children cut the yard, clean their rooms and wash the dishes. But I NEVER have to MAKE them eat food, especially ice cream. Why then does the Psalmist make such an awkward request? Because in his walk he was struggling to make balance between to entities... The old man and the new man... The old man loathes God's word, while the new man loves God's word. The old man hates God's word, while the new man heeds God's word. The old man forbids God's word, while the new man follows God's word. That's why, even when we come to Christ we must strive to keep our "balance." I believe this is the "balance" that Paul was struggling with in Romans 7. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, "those things I want to do, I don't do and the things I don't want to do, I do.... O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this flesh of sin?" There is often a great pain and process associated with finding this "balance." I think that is what we see discovered by the Prodigal son in Luke 15. He leaves saying "give me" but comes home saying "make me." Wow... Back "full circle" to the petition and prayer of this Psalmist in verse 35, "Make me to walk in the path of your ways." When Paul admonishes us to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called" the word "worthy" is taken from the Greek "axios." (my spelling may not be exact). That word is one of weights and measures and simply means "in good balance." Paul says, "therefore walk in good balance of the vocation for which you have been called." It was also Paul who said (Ephesians 2:10) "For we are His workmanship, created in Christi Jesus unto good works which he hath pre-ordained that we may WALK in them." The probing question that I asked our congregation was "How is your walk?" The challenge of us all is to have a walk (lifestyle) that glorifies God, edifies man and terrifies Satan. I thank God for redefining my walk and effecting the process of sanctification in me. "I may not be the best at anything, nor have the best of anything. Sometimes I feel that I'm the least of all. But, I know someone who has everything and He is my everything, and I'm happy just to know that I'm His child..."

Lord... Please, Order my steps in your word...

Friday, November 02, 2007

One Blogger with Cheese

Good Afternoon,

I am actually supposed to be working right now. It's Friday and the barbershop will probably prove to be busy, especially being that it is the first of the month. However, I thought I would quickly make comment about the previous post "Say Cheese." Apparently, in the process for posting a picture on your blog, the image must be hosted on an html. Not that I understand it, but this meant I needed to post the picture as a blog and then copy that "url" to my photo upload area. So, for those of you who thought there was some portion of vanity in my posting a picture, trust me this was not the case. In my efforts to serve a well prepared page, thought you might like some "cheese" on this blogger. lol
Blog'ya later,

Say Cheese!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mission Accomplished

Last night's "Hallelujah Night" was a success. It appears that the community appreciated our efforts and patronized the event. Of course, it always seems like no matter what we accomplish we could have done a little more. However, I am very grateful for it all going the way that it did. We were able to make contact with people and families that we probably would not have outside of this event. Even if we don't see any church membership additions as a result of this particular event, I do believe that good seed has been sown.

There were quite a few of the members at "the ship" who stepped over and above the call of duty. It is a great point of progress to see such an event take place and I LITERALLY had to do NOTHING. Those of you who know the context of my Pastorate would have to admit that this is really saying A LOT. God is good. Even amidst the current challenges and trials, it seems like He allows an opportunity to get a glimpse of why we labor so hard. If I simply stay attentive to His voice, I believe He constantly shares with me small reasons why my labor is not in vain.

Well, off to class. Already late and this is my "long day." 8am- Social Work... 11am- Minority Studies... 1-4pm- Barber Shop... 4:30pm- Forensic Psychology... 7:30pm- Sociology of Family... I guess you can see why I'm dragging and dreading getting started. Blog soon..