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Sunday musings

From nakedpastor.com

Just posted by Steve Hopkins on the open thread:

Hey guys Steve Hopkins here! As many of you know I was diagnosed with cancer last month. I had a biopsy surgery Wednesday June 23rd and the Doctor just advised that the test results were good…and it doesn’t look like the cancer has effected my lymph nodes. So this Wednesday, June 30th, it looks like Laproscopic surgery for me. As you can imagine this has been an ordeal for my wife and me both physically and emotionally. While this while thing isn’t fun, This is the best outcome I could have expected. I appreciate your continued prayers…thanks

Good morning…hope you’re having a good weekend so far.

If you went to church…tell us how your service went and what your pastor preached about.

Tomorrow, a discussion of online community; Tuesday, a review of Michael Spencer’s Mere Churchianity.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 11:02 am

    No church for me this morning…work, long day, wake up late…

    Also, today is one of those days when my mental mood regarding church is in the crappy frame of mind.

    I know that I would show up, in a church where I know a lot of people, for a service where very few of them would possibly even be there…and having gone through that week after week for years, having been a face in the crowd, there are weeks now where it’s all good and i can go w/o it being a problem for me, and weeks where I just don’t want to go through all the hassle of hurrying to get showered and dressed and rush to church for THAT…

  2. Buster
    June 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    BrianD,

    Viola and Barna relate a humorous account of the Spuchecker family getting ready for church on Sunday. This is from “Pagan Christianity.”

    ““WE DO EVERYTHING by the Word of God! The New Testament
    is our guide for faith and practice! We live . . . and we
    die . . . by this Book!”
    These were the words that thundered forth from the
    mouth of Pastor Farley as he delivered his Sunday morning
    sermon. Winchester Spudchecker, a member of Pastor
    Farley’s church, had heard them dozens of times before. But
    this time it was different. Dressed in his blue suit, frozen
    in the back pew with his wife, Trudy, Winchester stared at
    the ceiling as Pastor Farley continued talking about “doing
    everything by the sacred Book.”
    One hour before Pastor Farley began his sermon,
    Winchester had had a fuming fight with Trudy. This was a
    common occurrence as Winchester, Trudy, and their three 1
    Ychapter one
    daughters, Felicia, Gertrude, and Zanobia, got ready for church on
    Sunday morning.
    His mind began replaying the event. . . .
    “Truuudyy! Why aren’t the kids ready? We’re always late! Why
    can’t you ever get them prepared on time?” Winchester yelled as he
    anxiously glanced at the clock.
    Trudy’s response was typical. “If you ever thought to help me this
    wouldn’t happen all the time! Why don’t you start giving me a hand
    in this house?” The argument went back and forth until Winchester
    turned on the children: “Zanobia Spudchecker! . . . Why can’t you
    respect us enough to get ready on time? . . . Felicia, how many times
    do I have to tell you to turn off your PlayStation before 9 a.m.?”
    Hearing the commotion, Gertrude burst into tears.
    Wearing their Sunday best, the Spudchecker family finally drove
    to church at breakneck speed. (Winchester hated to be late and had
    received three speeding tickets this past year—all given to him on
    Sunday mornings!)
    As they raced to the church building, the silence in the car was
    deafening. Winchester was steaming. Trudy was sulking. With heads
    down, the three Spudchecker daughters were trying to prepare their
    minds for something they hated . . . another long hour of Sunday
    school!
    As they pulled in to the church parking lot, Winchester and
    Trudy gracefully exited the car, sporting large smiles. They held each
    other arm in arm and greeted their fellow church members, chuckling
    and putting on the pretense that all was well. Felicia, Gertrude, and
    Zanobia followed their parents with chins pointed upward.
    These were the fresh yet painful memories that coursed through
    Winchester’s mind that Sunday morning as Pastor Farley continued
    his sermon. Brooding in self-condemnation, Winchester began to ask
    himself some searching questions: Why am I dressed up prim and proper
    looking like a good Christian when I acted like a heathen just an hour ago?
    . . . I wonder how many other families had this same pitiful experience this
    morning? Yet we’re all smelling nice and looking pretty for God.

    “Pagan christianity?
    Winchester was a bit shocked by these thoughts. Such questions
    had never before entered his consciousness.
    As he peeked over to see Pastor Farley’s wife and children sitting
    prim and proper on the front pew, Winchester mused to himself:
    I wonder if Pastor Farley screamed at his wife and kids this morning?
    Hmmm . . .
    Winchester’s mind continued to race in this direction as he
    watched Pastor Farley pound the pulpit for emphasis and raise his
    Bible with his right hand. “We at First Bible New Testament Community
    Church do everything by this Book! Everything! This is the Word
    of God, and we cannot stray from it . . . not even one millimeter!”
    Suddenly Winchester had another new thought: I don’t remember
    reading anywhere in the Bible that Christians are supposed to dress up to go
    to church. Is that by the Book?
    This single thought unleashed a torrent of other barbed questions.
    As scores of frozen pew sitters filled his horizon, Winchester
    continued to ponder similar new questions. Questions that no Christian
    is supposed to ask. Questions like:
    Is sitting in this uncushioned pew, staring at the back of twelve rows of
    heads for forty-five minutes, doing things by the Book? Why do we spend so
    much money to maintain this building when we’re here only twice a week for
    a few hours? Why is half the congregation barely awake when Pastor Farley
    preaches? Why do my kids hate Sunday school? Why do we go through this
    same predictable, yawn-inspiring ritual every Sunday morning? Why am I
    going to church when it bores me to tears and does nothing for me spiritually?
    Why do I wear this uncomfortable necktie every Sunday morning when all
    it seems to do is cut off blood circulation to my brain?
    Winchester felt unclean and sacrilegious to ask such things. Yet
    something was happening inside of him that compelled him to doubt
    his entire church experience. These thoughts had been lying dormant
    in Winchester’s subconscious for years. Today, they surfaced.
    Interestingly, the questions Winchester had that day are questions
    that never enter the conscious thinking of most Christians. Yet
    the sober reality is that Winchester’s eyes had been opened.
    HAVE WE REALLY BEEN DOING IT BY THE BOOK?

    “As startling as it may sound, almost everything that is done in our
    contemporary churches has no basis in the Bible. As pastors preach
    from their pulpits about being “biblical” and following the “pure
    Word of God,” their words betray them. The truth is that precious
    little that is observed today in contemporary Christianity maps to
    anything found in the first-century church.

  3. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    The priest spoke about Matthew the Poor and about how the life of piety and rigors of daily obedience is to be lived out. God is in the small, seemingly mundane and ordinary elements of life. The walk of faith is daily, unrelenting obedience. God is most profoundly at work in the small, daily choices we make. We must follow Christ in each decision, for it is in this daily process that Christ is formed in us.

  4. sisterchristian
    June 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Im right with you this week on that one BrianD!
    For weeks and weeks Im fine, and then,
    whamo, i just dont want to go.

    Also thinking on your post BrianD along with the post Buster wrote, especially the final sentence:
    “The truth is that precious
    little that is observed today in contemporary Christianity maps to
    anything found in the first-century church.”

    So How do we reconcile the disparity between what should be and what is?
    How do we walk in the dynamic and depth that was characteristic of the early church?

    Do you think it our personal problem because we not spiritual enough, patient enough, gracious enough, prayerful enough,studious enough, friendly enough

    or:

    Could it be a problem with the direction and teaching of the leadership.
    well, if im not being clear enough with specific words, I hope someone can help me with the general concept.

    To me church for the better part lately seems to be a big social club
    like any other, the only difference being the “christian one” has Jesus and the Bible slapped on it like a bumper sticker fish tacked on a car with a maniac driver who cuts everybody else off….

    well I didnt go to church today either,

    took my teenage daughter to see her friend again today
    who has been in the hospital for the past 10 days
    her lung is still fully collapsed from a kick to her ribs
    from a boy who got mad because she refused to go out with him…

    please keep her in prayer
    as they will assess her tomorrow
    to see if she is well enough to breath on her own,
    ake her off oxygen so she can go home( which she really wants to do)

    Then we took our little ones to the beach and enjoy the sand and the sea

  5. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I wouldn’t go as far as Viola and Barna, Buster…I do believe that as long as one chooses to be involved with most churches in this country, the Sunday set-up (as I’ll call it) is something you’re just going to have to learn to live with.

  6. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Madison, who is Matthew the Poor?

    “The walk of faith is daily, unrelenting obedience. God is most profoundly at work in the small, daily choices we make. We must follow Christ in each decision, for it is in this daily process that Christ is formed in us.”

    So hard sometimes to see God at all in the day-to-day…much less to see Him at work in the everyday.

  7. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Sis, us or them? Probably both (usually)..though depending on the individual it could be one or the other.

    I thought about the early church after reading Buster’s comment…and am wondering if the early church was really intended to be the standard for all time or to provide a few general rules for conduct…so future generations would not be bound to what was done in the first century…

  8. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Brian,

    Matthew the Poor was an Orthodox, Coptic monk who experienced all kinds of hands-on visits from God and signs, things like that. His writings can be controversial in some quarters. I don’t know much about him other than our priest esteems him highly and is reading one of his books right now.

    I don’t always feel like going to church either, but I think it’s moreso a problem with ME, when I feel that way. I used to think church was a place where you went for fellowship, to learn the Bibible, to worship in word and song, etc. But church really isn’t about the first two — it’s all about the latter. We attend church to participate in the holy mystery of faith, to transcend the majesty of God and give Him due honor. So … When I don’t “feel” like going to church, I am in grave sin of my soul because I am failing to give him due reverence in the assembly of the saints.

  9. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Note that I am NOT saying anything about those who choose not to go on Sunday, I am just sharing what I have recently learned, in terms of church attendance and why we should go each week.

  10. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    That’s a relief, because I am one of those who don’t eschew church altogether, but as I said, I have moods where the entire church thing on Sunday is kind of pointless…even when it isn’t.

    We (my church) are not the same denomination to you, but we are closer to you than most of the SBC in terms of our church service. We have a liturgy, the different elements of the service pointing to the cross and to what the pastor is teaching on that particular day. It OUGHT to point me to Jesus and be this holy mystery and transcendence…

    …but still, all I can think of when I am in those moods is the hassle of getting up early, finding something decent to wear, rushing to the building, finding a place to park, sitting amongst a crowd of people I don’t know, and being left to fend for myself after the service is done.

    I think we can all agree that THAT is NOT what church ought to be about.

  11. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Here’s a definition of church from one of my church’s pastors, via his twitter feed:

    “Church is God’s idea and it is formed as he calls us into his kingdom community”

  12. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Brian, I totally relate. Church can be one of the loneliest parts of the week. But then, I think community is overrated anyway. There is more community at a dog park than church, sometimes.

  13. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    … That last paragraph in your post, I can completely relate…,

  14. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Madison, then you get what I’m talking about. And you may agree with me on this:

    You said “There is more community at a dog park than church, sometimes.” If you’re talking about the weekend service, yes! But community isn’t really showing up on Sundays…it’s doing life together, to quote the title of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer book. Community ideally happens 24/7, throughout the week, not just Sunday morning. In my limited and not-so-successful experience, it’s hard to develop and easy to lose.

  15. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    ..in that yes, we can all agree that’s not what church ought to be.

    The other thing is, to really “know” one another in relationships at church requires a certain level of letting people into your life– and sometimes being alone is better than taking a risk like that. Esp. when you get older, you tend to not want to forge new church relationships. I had multitudes of friends when I was in CC, but I was younger and stupider then. 🙂 Nowadays I think it’s preferable to not take risks in terms of forging new church relationships. Just come, give Him due honor, receive the Eucharist and absolution of sin, put money in the offering plate, sign up for a ministry or two so we contribute something, and then leave. Forging of relationships in church isn’t necessary, and, in many cases, opens oneself up to undue risk.

  16. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I don’t know what you mean by having life together 24/7? I know today I signed up for what looks to be an intensive missionary support thing….but that’s not 24/7, and I can’t be involved in serving the church 24 hrs a day. (I have a job.)

  17. Linnea
    June 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    We missed church this morning, but spent the weekend camping and fishing at a mountain lake in southern Colorado. Though we missed church, God was at work. We ran into a family we’d worked with to start a new church years ago. They moved several states away six years ago, but guess where they were this weekend? We had a great time of fellowship and encouragement.

  18. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    That is awesome Linnea! That would be right in line with what the priest said — God is at work in what seems to be the ordinary events of life.

  19. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I am so glad to see Steve Hopkins got some positive news…..

  20. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I guess I meant more that you’re involved with other Christians in the church – and outside of the church – throughout your week and not just for 2 hours on a Sunday morning. Not literally 24/7…not like having to step over the guys from community group when you get a craving for a snack at 2:30 a.m. 🙂

  21. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Awesome, Linnea!

  22. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Madison, I understand where you are coming from in your #15…but I would respond, risk is worth it if you’re going after something good and necessary and not opposed to Biblical teaching.

    Community as preached by my church is definitely an ideal and harder than you think to pull off in reality…making it happen involves risk, and that includes the chance that things won’t work out and you’ll for whatever reason always be the outsider of the group. But you could find a decent group of people, too.

    Church may be this awkward, weird thing that I sometimes want no part of…but I keep coming back for a number of reasons. One being that the alternative – isolation – kills my soul.

  23. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Another quote on community, from Bob of Wilderness Fandango blog:

    “Sunday morning is the flower of community, but the roots are in deeply real and authentic personal relationships among believers.”

  24. madison*bella
    June 27, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I see what you’re saying, but I think 1) our world today even in the church prefers isolation, and people don’t really want to trust one another and open up lives to one another. And 2) there is wisdom in keeping one’s life private– I don’t think anyone would dispute that, not really.

    I think balance is called for here– for example, in our new parish, which I hope we can remain at this church for the next 15 years, as we really like it–it’s not that we are “closed” or isolated. The priest and a couple leaders in the youth ministry know about my son’s rebellion and experimentation issues and have been very supportive, and vice versa with some other issues that a new friend of mine at the parish has–I have tried to be a good support for her in her struggles.

    So while I do think there is a place for selective and guarded “sharing,” I also think wisdom dictates that one should keep one’s own life closed and not be trusting of just anyone (even if they are part of the church). Frankly, something my brother (in law enforcement) once told me totally applies here: “Keep your life and any struggles you have to YOURSELF. People act like they care, but they don’t — They have their own crap going on and could care less about YOUR crap. So keep it close to your chest and be very careful who you let get close to you. Don’t be quick to trust anyone.”

    He is a pretty wise man, hardened in some ways , but pretty sharp to how people really tick.

    You can have community in working together for the Church, in doing projects for the Church, in striving together for a common purpose/labor.

    I can totally see “community” lived out like that– when focused on working on a project. I have no problems working with other Christians in “community.”

    But opening up one’s life and being vulnerable and “sharing” stuff from one’s life– I think that’s precarious.

  25. BrianD
    June 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Good wisdom there, Madison.

    I suppose I’m sort of an idealist on this topic…one who trying to honor the aims of my church.

    Thing is, community doesn’t just happen, and I’m surprised I’m not agreeing more with you given my own experiences.

    Telling one’s own struggles in a small group can drive them away from you. It shouldn’t, but it does.

    So…be careful whom you confide in. The ideal often is not the real, no matter what the experts might say.

  26. Captain Kevin
    June 28, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Pastor was away this weekend, so I filled in. Preached on one of my very favorite passages, Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. In keeping with the main thrust of the prayer, we sang “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” both the old hymn and the new version by Todd Agnew. At the conclusion of the service, I had each person think of someone to pray for, then we prayed the Ephesian prayer together.

  27. BrianD
    June 28, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Kevin, awesome! Are you CC or otherwise now?

    Holler at me tomorrow…I’m should be asleep by now 😉

  28. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Brian, I forgot I wanted to ask you about something you said earlier– when you say you have a liturgy in your SBC worship service, what do you mean? Can you explain more?

  29. Buster
    June 28, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Sr. C:
    “So How do we reconcile the disparity between what should be and what is?”

    We’ve been taught that our not wanting to go to church is a problem with us that needs to be fixed. I’m realizing that it’s the system itself that needs to be fixed. I don’t want to pretend to be friendly with people I don’t really know and sit through sermons because the Spirit is not impelling me to do so, nor am I directed to do so by the Word of God.

    What does come natural, and what I do look forward to are are the meetings with fellow believers that I love to talk about! That’s the real community, the real church. The programs and the liturgies are artificial incursions, and we’ve been trying to fit ourselves into them, when we should be doing away with them.

    Sr. C, you and your daughter have taken Jesus to this poor girl in the hospital. The religious people were off doing their thing, but you were doing exactly was Jesus told us to do. You have no reason to feel bad about missing a sterile religious service!

    “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (Jas 1:27)”

    I will pray that this girl will receive your act of mercy, and that you willnbe able to receive her into the community of believers!

  30. Buster
    June 28, 2010 at 12:41 am

    BrianD,
    “I do believe that as long as one chooses to be involved with most churches in this country…”

    I have chosen another path! 🙂

    I’m not advocating any kind of rigid, “here’s how the apostles did it” approach, I’d rather do away with formulas. But the Protestant church has basically been using the same liturgy for the past 500 years, with only superficial variations. And that was inherited from a liturgy that went back another 1200 years. We’ve hated it, and we’ve put up with it, but we’ve never had the nerve to get rid of it.

    If you long for real community, it can be found…

  31. Buster
    June 28, 2010 at 12:50 am

    M*B,
    At the risk of being contentious (you and BrianD may correct my if this is not the right place or time), can you offer any Biblical justification for this statement?

    “We attend church to participate in the holy mystery of faith, to transcend the majesty of God…”

  32. June 28, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Dont know bout that. There was a Liturgy in Jesus day as well. I love the liturgy it is deep and rich and worshipful of our God. I despise Evangelical services, but I think thats why we have such varied options to meet and praise the Lord.

  33. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Buster, you may hate liturgy, but not everyone hates it. 🙂 Today in Sunday School the rector played a very dark, very mysterious and almost haunting liturgy of St. John and the room was spellbound by the richness and beauty. The liturgy of Word and Table is one of the most beautiful dimensions of church. Maybe you might want to try a high church service? You might find it to be anything but sterile. 🙂

  34. June 28, 2010 at 1:19 am

    M*b – well said, The beauty of the liturgy for us is there is no room for the cult of personality. The pastor is as much an observer as the congregant until his sermon, and even then it is always the cross, the cross and then the cross. No room for personal interpretation or guiding the sheeple where the pastor wants to take them. Instead the servant grazes in the field with the sheep under the Masters watchful and protective eye.

    It is safe, and beautiful and mysterious and wild all at once.

  35. Buster
    June 28, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Eric,
    They had leprosy in Jesus’ day too, but I don’t think he wanted to preserve that, either! 🙂

  36. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Buster, in the Anglican tradition we don’t base practices solely from Scripture, but also from Holy Tradition. Going back to the very beginning, almost from the time when formal church practices were being recorded for posterity, the liturgy was ever present–and tradition records people attending church to participate in the holy mystery of faith. The church always has been, and always will be, God’s chosen vehicle through whom His sacraments are administered, His grace is given, and His holy mysteries are celebrated.

  37. Buster
    June 28, 2010 at 1:39 am

    M*B,
    I grew up a Catholic, and I did think the liturgy was mysterious, and I was caught up in the beauty of the church building and the polished execution of the liturgy.

    Then I heard this:

    “I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (col 1:25-7)”

    It wasn’t Christ in the sanctuary, or Christ in the sacraments, or Christ in the icons, relics or liturgical pronouncements, it was Christ in me.

    I could commune with the Son directly, without a mediator, that he could indwell me as a person, rather than as a thing I consumed. That I could serve Him, instead of an organization, that I could worship Him, instead of a piece of stone or plaster, that I could be forgiven by Him, and not by a priest, that I could love Him, and be loved.

    The mysterious stuff quickly lost its attraction for me. I came to realize that it was a distraction, and impediment to my relationship with God. I would never return to that.

  38. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Eric, absolutely! One thing we love about liturgical churches, especially those cut close to the root of Roman Catholicism (ie: combining the best of the RCC yet without the questionable practices), is that the focus is wholly on the CROSS. I know little about any of the priests or deacons or really anything much along those lines, and that is perfect — it is ALL about Christ. We never know who will be giving the homily week to week–it doesn’t matter. They are servants of the risen Christ there to give homage to Him, and there is absolutely zero room given in the service to human personality. It is His Church, and the liturgy draws people’s hearts upward.

  39. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Buster, I see better where you’re coming from– thanks for sharing that perspective. For us, the rituals, the sacraments, the candles, the vestments, the written prayers, the recitations, the priestly absolution — all of it aids us in our worship of Him, because it lends a seriousness, a sacredness, a mysterious otherworldly-ness to our worship of God. It aids us. But I have heard that for others, such ritualistic worship can be detrimental.

  40. London
    June 28, 2010 at 3:04 am

    I had church in Wal-mart tonight!

    I was shopping for glue and crayons and had to ask someone if they had more in the back. The gal that ended up helping me has a master’s degree in Non-Profit administration, ran the Muscluar Dystophy office somewhere (can’t remember), is the daughter of a pediatrician church planter of a church that is very much misson oriented and wants to partner up with us.
    Best part is she said she’d help us sort out some of the administration stuff we don’t know…
    They are going on a medical trip to Haiti in Sept and said they would carry some of the VBS blankets the kids just made. It would be perfect!
    They have a chirstmas gift program for needy kids and a food pantry program we might get to partner up with them on our Thanksgiving meal boxes.
    AWESOME!!!!

    This is really good cause yesterday when we were looking at the amount of stuff we still need to get in order to complete 120 bags, it got just a “bit” scary and I was thinking there was NO WAY this was gonna work.

    Today I was really thinking that I’m in way over my head and this stuff isn’t what I’m “called” to do.

    Meeting her the way it happened was very definately one of those “divine appointments”. I keep having them in the oddest places….

    Life is weird!

  41. Na'amah
    June 28, 2010 at 4:09 am

    “life is weird!” 😀 it sure is London and one of the things that keep me going!

    and…. weird? My SO attended a different church w me and our daughter tonight…he just out of the blue said he wanted to come tonight!

    and tomorrow (oh, it’s today) is my 1st day back into my court offices in 6 months. I am sooo glad to be able to return.

  42. Nene
    June 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    London, very, very cool!

    Now I am talking out loud to whomever..So what’s the difference between being “called” vs spiritual gifts. I never thought of this until I read London’s post. God has put desires in my heart for various types of “service.” That to me is a calling….so, is the gift of helps 1 Cor 12:28 (for example) a calling?

    Not that it really matters..just wondering…

  43. Linnea
    June 28, 2010 at 8:48 am

    London…thanks for sharing your divine appointment. I had one recently in a WalMart, too!

    That God made that appointment with you when you were feeling “way over your head” builds faith in me. Your testimony reminds me that, even though I feel exhausted and over my head right now, at the right moment, God will put me in just the right circumstances and give me His energy to do what He’s tasked me with.

    Sister C…wonderful that you visited the girl in the hospital. I love this quote…maybe some of you know where it came from:

    “”People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
    —Unknown

    I know, Sister C, that you and your daughter made that girl feel special.

  44. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Linnea, that quote reminds me of s similar one: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

    Love has to be the basis for all service.

    London, that is so neat! I love it when God does things like that! I had a very similar experience one day recently when I was torn about whether to visit the RCC priest for absolution. Knowing it wasn’t necessary, and yet, motivated out of a deep desire to be fully forgiven so I could truly serve Him without the constant doubt of whether I was forgiven for the past or not. God
    orchestrated an event that coincided with my visit to the priest–and the result was an unmistakable “sign” that while it probably wasn’t needed at all, at the same time God honored it and used this event to bring about a true sense of freedom and forgiveness I had so long lacked.

  45. madison*bella
    June 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Nene,

    All Christians are called to serve one another in love, and to facilitate this, God gives special giftings such as helps, mercy, etc.

    As for being “called” versus having a “spiritual gift” — in my opinion, a “call” is something pastors/priests receive for something vocational. But while they MUST have the “call” to go into the ministry, they also must have accompanying spiritual gifts (like teaching, shepherding etc).

  46. BrianD
    June 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Madison, sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

    I’ll use the definition for liturgy that Wikipedia does: “Typically in Christianity, however, the term “the liturgy” normally refers to a standardized order of events observed during a religious service, be it a sacramental service or a service of public prayer.”

    At Sojourn it looks like this:
    1. Call to worship
    2. A couple of songs
    3. Someone reads from the Scripture, with everyone reading along selected portions
    4. Another song, then “passing of the peace” (what most of us know as ‘turn around and shake someone’s hand and introduce yourself’) 🙂
    5. The sermon, which leads directly into
    6. Communion – everyone gets up and walks over to one of several places throughout the sanctuary, where one person stands with a loaf of bread (the body) and another person with one cup of grape juice and another cup of wine (the blood). You tear a piece of bread off and dip it into the wine or grape juice, whatever your conscience/convictions permit.
    7. A song plays, and another scripture is read, and then a couple of more songs, then the announcements, and a benediction.

  47. Captain Kevin
    June 28, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Hey BrianD,
    We’re attending a small CC-type church that was planted by a friend. Currently, I’m heading up the worship team, but have filled in preaching a few times now.

  48. BrianD
    June 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    “I have chosen another path! 🙂 ”

    I can tell! 🙂

  49. BrianD
    June 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I think God gave us liturgical churches and house churches and all of the other 100,000 churches under the sun because not everyone is the same.

    One person would love a high church service and another would chafe. If one person loves an informal house church, someone else would go nuts.

  50. BrianD
    June 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, Kevin!

  51. London
    June 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Nene-
    For some reason, I think that there’s more to your question than what you wrote last night. Can you flesh it out a bit more?

  52. Nene
    June 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Hey London, I appreciate your comment, as the wheels are turning in my head! Hmmm..when I read your post, it made me ponder the “stuff” I do here in my little world of the urban barrio..it’s scary at times. Honestly, I feel overwhelmed and wonder if it is really for me at times. Just wondering outloud… 🙂 Calling, service..whatever it is…take care L.

    Thank you Madison Bella for your explanation!

  53. London
    June 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Because you wonder if it’s a “calling” of if it’s cause you’re gifted with the gift of “helps” so you wonder which of those things you’re operating out of at any given moment?

    or am I way off?

  54. Nene
    June 28, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    London, it’s not that I wonder “which of those things” I am operating out of.
    More than likely, it’s me thinking I just cannot handle some of the tasks. Of course God gives me the ability to serve, and care etc…the more I think about it, the clearer it becomes.

    My regular job serves the same kids of the church I work with…so it’s kind of double trouble at times 🙂

  55. London
    June 30, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Nene- Yeah, I understand that whole thing about wondering if you’re up to the task at hand thing. I pretty much feel that every day of my life :mrgreen:
    I think it’d be hard to be working with kids for work and for “fun” though so I’m impressed you can do it!

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