At church we have a little book group on Goodreads that we are trying out. We are reading a little book by Mike Yaconelli called Messy Spiritually. When getting together today’s questions for the discussion I was reading over the chapters again and came across this gem”
[blockquote source=”Mike Yaconekki”]Churches are not only awe inspiring; They are odd inspiring, attracting and earthly assortment of Jesus followers. [/blockquote]
Thinking back to this past weekend’s worship experience finds this quote to be true. We played games, sung songs, danced, cried, laughed and poured ourselves out to embody what it is to be a disciple of Jesus.
There are times where I am blown away that I get to do this “odd job” for a living. I am so proud to be the pastor of the FaithPoint community. We are striving to be odd because odd means we are doing ministry in ways that have not been done yet. In 2000 years of the church existing there are still creative ways to connect with those who have not yet made the God connection.
If we are odd in the ways we live our call and reach those who need to connect then more power to us. There are hundreds of churches doing the same stuff with the same results. But to do something different we need to own our personal oddness and invite others into the adventure of life with God.
The other week I was setting up some automated file back-up and sync processes on our home network. Very exciting stuff. The motivation is to make a personal cloud that i can access from anywhere and not have to rely on a 3rd party service (i.e. dropbox)
However the backup continued to fail time after time. After some digging and testing I found that the problem was with a bad WordPerfect file from 2008 outlining a worship service.
This little file that I had forgotten about brought things to a haul because it was corrupt but not examined.
As we have been studying the book of Malachi at church and the ways that the things that have gone unchecked for years make for a huge problem for God’s people. Their offerings are no longer acceptable and they have lost their way because of corruption that happened years before.
The solution is then two fold:
- Get rid of the clutter- the processes of editing and deleting things that are no longer needed in our lives is a painful but needed task or the result becomes something similar to the spiritual equivalent of hoarders Click here for google image search for a visual
- Rebuild the corrupt bits that are critical- This is changing habits and lifestyle to scrape scour and refine to be the people that we want to be. It is hard and painful work but when you come out in the end it is also empowering to know you are on the right path.
Just some thoughts as I have been studying Malachi 3 this week.
This past weekend was out Ugly Sweater weekend. The community was encouraged to wear an ugly Christmas sweater or tacky tie to worship.
When the worship design team settled on this I was excited, but didn’t know how the congregation would receive it. However they were awesome.
The real point of the weekend centered around acceptance and our call to remember that God has accepted us no matter what ugliness we have in our closets (hence the sweaters and ties).
This was also the first snow of the season so when worship was over getting home was somewhat of a nightmare. However I think ugly sweater weekend is something that has the potential for a repeat next year.
This past weekend I had the chance to worship with Katie and the girls at New Hope UMC. It was wonderful to be with them and that community of faith. It is always neat to me to see the radically different ways God moves throughout different churches and how the Spirit comes in all different forms. Throughout the morning the scripture we were encouraged to reflect upon was the parable of the talents found in Matthew’s gospel. Here 3 servants were given differing sums of money to care for. The 2 that received the most doubled the money and the one who had the least buried it. Then the master pleased with the first two, took the money from the 3rd servant and gave it to the one with the most.
Now in this teaching we are the servants and God is the master. However one thing has stuck with me for the past couple of days. Now you have to keep in mind that i am a tech nerd and our family watches the show Shark Tank often. So I love seeing new and innovative ideas and also those who have enough financial resources to fund some of these ideas. The area of venture capital is fascinating to me.
With my limited knowledge of how the financial backing system works I can’t shake the feeling that God must be the worst venture investor EVER! Think about little bit. Would you invest and entrust your valuables to the battered broken mess that is humanity if you were God? This is not simply a one time teaching. Look at the disciples Jesus chooses to carry on the Gospel after he is gone….they are a mess. Other parables like the one of the sewer tossing valuable seed on the rocks, in the weeds, on the cart path and eventually the good soil. No famer would really do that.
So then why? Why invest in the lost cause? Why give so much to those who have such a sketchy track record?
In a word Grace.
In more than one word. God knows the full story and the big picture. God can operate or invest out of an economy of abundance rather than scarcity. God is able to pick the long shot evey time because God (the creator) knows the potential of every single one of us. And this is why the master in our parable is mad at the 3rd servant. He knows the potential he sees the worth on the inside. And when the servant doesn’t even to the least to yield a return (stick the money in the bank to collect interest) the master, God, is angry.
God, Alpha and Omega, knows the beginning and the end because God is the beginning and the end. So the question I am asking each day is how am I showing a return to God DAILY on God’s investment of grace?
Tuesday began with a splash as we played a bunch of water games after breakfast. Games included flinging water balloons, making and racing boats out of foil, bailing a raft (because nothing tires out some kiddos better than moving 100s of gallons of water. The final game in the set was sure to take care of any dry spots the kids may have had. The staff and volunteers disposed of the extra water balloons, water squirters and other water delivering mediums by playing a game of water tag with the kids.
In the afternoon, there was a group that went rafting, and other that swam, while yet another went hiking on Sawmill creek. Many campers loved the rock painting station and will come home with some new and totally organic souvenirs.
Worship in the evening was great. Pastor John talked about the story of Ruth and Naomi and the importance of keeping the promises we make even when it is really hard.
The day ended with a dance party and smores. Our time to sleep under the stars was cut short by a stone that rolled in.
Ok, so I have to say that there are some really cool parts about being a pastor. One of the really neat things that I get to do on a weekly basis is sermon prep (study scripture, read books about cool things and share stories with other people about what they think about a certain topic). There are many things that don’t make the cut for Sunday morning and that challenge or stretch my thinking throughout the week. There has been some really rich interactions at church and online about these questions that we woudl ask God. I thought that I would share some of the things from this past week’s prep that i found striking or that has stuck with me.
Continue reading “Always wrestling”
For the past couple of days I have been lending a hand where I can for the community Christmas at in Brunswick. It has been exiting to collect, sort, and even shop for the gifts for the kids. However today I was tasked with putting together a bike that was still in the box. how hard could it really be. Right?!?!
Continue reading “Stretching for Christmas”