MIDWEEK MESSAGE 24
Good middle of the week to all of you! I hope this week is not treating you too badly. We have all had those nights when we don’t sleep that well. I went to bed the normal time and slept pretty solid…until about 12 or so. I thought I had been asleep forever and woke up so wide awake I thought it was surely time to get up. But I was mistaken so rather than bother Jo with my tossing and turning I went to my recliner in my “cave.” I did doze off but about 2:00 I woke up and thought surely it was time to get up. Well, it wasn’t but my mind wouldn’t shut down so I just went ahead and got up. I’ve always believed that if that happens God must have a reason for me to be up. I mean, it has to be more than me dozing off in my chair in the office and Diana catching me! Right? So…there was. Several reasons actually.
Reason #1. Sermons. Future sermons. Sermons for the end of September/first 2 weeks of October. Already started. Preliminary work done. Outline done. “Hey Bill! You are not going to preach those.” “Say what God?” “That’s right. No can do.” “Seriously?” So I came to the office early and scuttled the three sermons (I’ll save all the material for another time) and worked on moving what I had planned for the last week of October/first two weeks of November to this new slot. I want to believe God smiled because that first one flowed together as if I had been working on it for weeks. Case in point: I’m working on this now instead of later. (Besides, I may be napping a little later but please don’t tell Diana! She is a terrible task– master “waker-upper.” 🙂
Reason #2. This is even far more personal, in that I’m giving you a look inside my head (which can be scary or echo-ey), I mean my heart. This morning (Tuesday) during my Quiet Time I was reading in I Thess. 2. Beginning in verse 3 Paul wrote: “For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our heart. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed-God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others…But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (Verses 3-8)
I started thinking about me…and you. I couldn’t help it. Then the questions started flowing through my brain. It was all I could do to move on in my QT and read and journal. I began to reflect on the almost 15 complete years (November) I have been the pastor of OVCF. I am not naïve enough to believe I have not slipped up or said something I shouldn’t have or made an ill-advised comment. I most certainly have been misunderstood (as have we all). I have been maligned (as have we all). I have been accused of saying something that anyone who knows me knows that would not have come from my mouth (as have we all). But the one thing I know which can’t be said is that I ran or tried to run rough-shod over you. It says in Psalm 78:72 that “David shepherded his people with an upright heart (integrity) and guided them with a skillful hand.” When my days are done here or on earth, I pray those words can be spoken about me, that the imagery Paul uses of a mother and a father who care for their children in I Thess. 2 will be said about me. I do love each of you (even if you don’t want it) and still look forward to seeing many of you in person soon. 🙂
Speaking of that…expect an announcement soon from Ryan about the Sunday morning youth program. I’m not going to steal his thunder because that is “his baby.” The Sunday night youth program (ROOTS) will be starting up soon as well.
Route 66 (a two-year study through the 66 books of the Bible) will start September 15th. It isn’t too late to sign up. And here is something new: there is a possibility for the class to meet during an afternoon (Tuesday or Wednesday). Would that be more to your liking rather than getting out on Tuesday night at 7? If so, let me know. I’ve had 2 express night driving is out for them and another with a conflict on Tuesday night. Let me know if you are interested.
I start a new series this Sunday that I’m calling Q & A. Each sermon has a question for the title. What about Work? What about Stones? What about Words? What about Storms? What about Doubt? What about Anger? Those are the first six. I have the others but due to the shifting around I alluded to earlier, I am still working on the order. I’ll keep you up to date.
Well, thanks for putting up with me listening to me again this week. I hope this MM has been a blessing to you and an encouragement. Have a great rest of the week. Know you are thought of, prayed for, and missed.