MIDWEEK MESSAGE #29
Hi there my friends! Welcome to MM #29. Diana will be out of the office for a few days as she and Jim celebrate their anniversary so I thought I would work to get this to you sooner. She and I had several conversations this past week about our (all three of us) work during the pandemic and how instead of it “ticking down” our work actually “ramped up.” That is not bragging nor meant to be taken as though we are looking for pats on the back, but all three of us continued doing what we always did with a little more added on. We kept our regularly scheduled office hours and then some. Again, that is not so we can be patted on the back. We did what we all felt needed to be done to keep you (the church) updated and informed. It led to the three of us reacting differently to the daily pressure the virus brought. She is taking a well-deserved vacation away from me and Ryan. 🙂
The next week, the 12th to the 14th Ryan will be taking a few days for some family time. Ryan gets a break from me and Diana. Hmmm. The common denominator for taking a break from someone is…Me. Do you think they are trying to say something? 🙂
Sunday, the 18th, is OVCF’s 16th anniversary. It most certainly will be different from previous anniversaries due to the restrictions still in place but that does not mean we cannot find a silver lining in the day. We will be having two services due to space limitations instead of one service (which we like to do on that day). We will not be having a pitch-in meal. That is a real bummer since I like those!! LOL I’ve titled my sermon “What about OVCF?” and plan to bring you up to date on how we weathered the past 8 months. Diana has done a great job of helping me out with attendance and offering figures so I can share an accurate report. I also have planned several other items which are still in the works. Keep in mind our offering that day will be given away. More next week. I look forward to seeing you there.
I waited until the end to share something with you that is on my heart. I’d like to share a personal story with you then make an application. When I was at a church as their pastor it came time for me to leave. Jo’s father had died and I knew she wanted to be closer to her mom. I told her I would start looking. Unfortunately, nothing opened up. I was unhappy being “forced” into more of a CEO role in the church. I was and am a pastor-a shepherd-not a CEO. (Thankfully, that movement has largely died out except for those who are of the megachurch variety). But a movement was underfoot that would eventually terminate my ministry there. I resigned at the suggestion of a very dear friend. I reacted pretty well at first but when the questions started, I didn’t react very well at all. I particularly blamed one man. As time moved on I did not know Tami, my oldest, was affected the way she was until she told me and I helped her write a letter asking forgiveness from this man for the way she felt. His reaction was the opposite of what I thought was good and I left there with some very strong animosity. But living elsewhere afforded me the chance to remove myself from people who fed that and also gave me time to heal. Part of that healing was sending a letter to him apologizing for my actions and thoughts. He never responded back but I was free-from my own prison and free from wishing ill-will on him.
The Bible is very clear on what should be our response to our enemies or people we don’t care for. “Pray for them” is what Jesus said and modeled. “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing,” were His words on the cross. It blows we away the vitriol and hate-speech from those who supposedly are open-minded and “loving people.” When RBG died I did not cheer. When the atheist, Stephen Hawking died, I did not cheer. In the case of the former, I prayed for her family to be comforted, because I knew as a Jew she did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, the One whom she would be standing before. I could not cheer. I could not cheer the death of an atheist who would be standing before the God whom he said did not exist. It really does not matter to me what you think of President Trump, but to cheer his and Melania’s Covid diagnosis is beyond decent. To hope he dies as some have tweeted (even using the “f” word) is simply beyond the pale of common sense and decency. (BTW: where is FB & Twitter when stuff like that is said?) Politics aside, I don’t wish anyone I know or don’t know or disagree with to get this disease. Instead of rejoicing in the news, why not pray for the man and his family? He does have a son you know? I don’t agree with homosexuality but I certainly don’t hope someone catches AIDS. That is ridiculous! It is high time we stop shooting arrows of hate and start shooting arrows of respect, decency, and love.
As followers of Christ we need to be different. We need to follow our Savior’s example. Be an answer; not a problem. Point people to Jesus, the One who is the solution. I love you all. Have a great week.