MIDWEEK MESSAGE #46
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #46. I’m b-a-a-a-a-c-k! After taking a week off due to my surgery, I am eager to reach out to you this week. I really wanted to try to do a MM last week but with meeting with the pre-op doctor and then having to be at the hospital at 6:00 on Wednesday morning I decided it was wiser to wait instead of “throwing something together” just so you could get a MM. 🙂 As you probably know by now the surgery went well. I came home the same day and have enjoyed being taken care of my bully. I mean my nurse. She has taken exceptional care of her lousy patient. In fact, I asked her today (Monday) if she cared if I went to the Y. Yeah…that’s the kind of patient I am. I’m getting a little antsy/stir crazy/restless (take your pick of adjective) but I deferred to her wishes. I have a follow up on Thursday. I’ll see how that goes. 🙂
Yesterday (Sunday) was an extra special day. Owen County is now in the Yellow which means we were able to add chairs and could have up to 100 in our auditorium. Of course, the reality is we can’t seat 100 people on a good day. We have the chairs; just not the room. We did add about 10 chairs and it was good to see people in both services, especially the new faces. It was especially good to see people returning who have, out of caution, chosen to stay away. I respect that and appreciate those who not only wanted to be safe, but also those who want to continue being safe. We will continue offering the live stream for you to watch. In fact, I can honestly promise (unless something goes horribly wrong) that live stream is here to stay. However, a shout out goes to you who have been joining us online and have been letting us know you are watching. Over the last two weeks we have been able to keep a fairly “accurate” count of those watching on their device and I have been pleasantly surprised of the number. So thank you for taking the words to heart about checking in.
Speaking of the live stream: we sure could use some help with volunteers for that and the sound board. No experience necessary. You will be taught!!
Okay…I need your help! (No comments from the peanut gallery please). Seriously, I would like to get your opinion and thoughts. During the month of March I will be preaching a series on the Cross and on the first Sunday in April it only stands to reason a sermon on the Resurrection. Then for the remaining 3 weeks Ryan and I will be finishing the series on Ecclesiastes. Here is where you come in. I have two series running through my head right now. One is a series on the Gospel of Mark and the other is a series on Seeing the Heart of Jesus. The latter will focus on how Jesus responded to people as He walked among them. The woman caught in adultery. Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood. The man born blind. The self-righteous Pharisee. The basic premise: with all the ugliness going on today, how would Jesus treat people? Maybe we can learn something. Ultimately, both series will be preached; I’m just looking for which one you’d like to hear first. Do you mind letting me know? Just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or text me or respond to this email and Diana will forward it to me. Thanks ahead of time.
Not being able to do much physical activity has given me the opportunity to read more at home than I normally do. I’ve been reading a book called After I Believe by James Emery White. Short recap: now that I have become a Christ-follower, what’s next? He tells a story: the church in Russia met in small groups at night throughout the week in order to avoid arousing suspicion of the KGB informers. One of the underground small groups began to softly sing a hymn together when two soldiers walked in, pointed their guns at the group, and announced, “If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!” Two or three of the members left quickly, and after a few more seconds, two more.
Then one of the soldiers looked at the remaining group, pointed his rifle, and said, “This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ or stay and suffer the consequences.” Then he pulled the bolt of his gun back to make it ready to fire. Two more slipped out. No one else moved, not even the parents of little children cowering in fear. Then one of the soldiers shut the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall, and said, “Keep your hands up-but this time in praise to God. We too are Christians. But we have learned that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
That is a great story which raises a valid point: can I be trusted? Am I willing to follow Jesus no matter where it takes me and where He leads me? The obvious answer is none of us really knows what our response will be. We might be like Peter-a lot of braggadocio but short on staying power. Or when push comes to shove we might really stand firm. I know which one I want to be. Let’s be prepared for whatever may come down the pike in 2021.
Have a great rest of the week. I love you all and look forward to seeing you in the coming weeks.