MIDWEEK MESSAGE #118
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #118 where you never know what might pop up out of this guy’s mind! Of course, you have come to expect that I suspect. ☺
I hope you have had a good week so far. School has started for most of the school corporations around here, and if that includes you I hope that you have been able to “settle in” as school gets off to a rousing start. For those of you who haven’t started yet (like homeschoolers)…enjoy these final few days. Our grandson doesn’t start until next Wednesday so I know he is relishing his days, except that he has football practice and is working.
While I am on the subject of school, let me remind you to be praying for Tabitha Freeman, the curriculum director here at S-OCS. For those who don’t know, we commit to praying for one of our educators each week. I’d like to use this as a reminder to you to pray for her.
With the onset of school starting, that also means our Roots youth group also gets started again after a summer hiatus. I’d like to go on record though for saying this: even though Roots took a break for the summer, the young people, and the adults involved in Roots, did not take a break! Whether it was one of the Wilderness Weeks at Hilltop (or both for some); YFC camp; a week at Hilltop; a week in Kentucky; or just general learning and serving, many of our adults and young people had a busy summer. Diana and I saw so little of Pastor Ryan around the office I felt I needed to introduce myself to him. ☺ The youth probably feel like they need to go back to school for a break!! However, let me say this to all of the adults and youth who made this a super busy summer, and to the parents who encouraged your child to participate, I cannot express how proud I am of all of you for your willingness to learn and serve.
Now back to my original thought (see like a ping pong ball is the thing called my mind): Roots starts this Sunday night from 5-7 in the auditorium. Ryan works hard on making Roots a great place to be on Sunday night and to bring your friends. If you are in Jr or Sr High you are welcome to come AND BRING FRIENDS! It is a time of fun, learning and developing friendships. I told Ryan that it was cool watching friendships start to develop in Roots, develop more over the summer, and to watch the youth hang around laughing and chatting after our morning worship. It warms my heart to see that because these friendships develop, they usually “stick.” So if you know of a friend or a young person who seems lonely or lost, tell them about Roots. Maybe they will come and find their life changed by Jesus and friends of His.
This coming Sunday is also the initial meeting for small groups. We will be meeting at 5:00 in the youth addition. I have tried to give an idea of what this meeting is about so let me put it down for you. Earlier this year, we had a sign-up sheet for those who were interested in small groups. We had a number of folks put their name down, but through time and busyness, we failed to follow through on it. As I said in another MM, I take the blame for that. I should have been more on top of that. Nothing is more devastating and more discouraging to people than to ask for interest and then just not do anything. Forgive me for dropping the ball. This meeting is an effort to get that ball rolling again. Wayne Akerson and Steve Pendleton each have a different approach to small groups. Since there are so many different people interested, I thought it would be best for you to hear from both of them, and then decide what type of group you would like to be involved in. The plan that evening is to find that out, sign you up according to your interest, and then make plans to get started. We will also have a Q & A time where hopefully your questions can be answered. We will start at 5 and will go as long as we need to (but no longer than Roots). One more thing: even if you have not signed up but are curious about the small groups, you are more than welcome to come. There is no obligation at all to join a group that night. See you there!
One item from me personally: For as long as I can remember (yesterday at least) I have offered a Route 66 class. I take 2 years to go through the 66 books of the Bible. After starting, then having to shut down due to that pandemic none of us like to think about, I started it back up last Spring. However, after a few weeks I shut it down in order to revamp it. I restarted it and we made it to Ruth when summer hit. After contacting everyone involved, I will be starting 66 on September 14th from 6:00-7:00 in the youth addition. We will be starting with I & II Samuel. Previous attendance is not required so even if you have not been before, you are invited to attend.
This past Sunday in my sermon I mentioned my current reading on what is called the Jesus Movement. It took place in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s and is considered the last great movement of the Holy Spirit. It focused mostly on the hippie generation which included individuals like singer Chuck Girard, Pastor Greg Laurie, and Pastor Ed Underwood. After reading Greg’s new book, Lennon, Dylan, Alice and Jesus, I decided to reread his book called Jesus Revolution. Since I finished that, I have been rereading Ed’s book, Reborn to be Wild. I quoted from it in my sermon Sunday and said I would include it in my MM this week. Here is the quote:
“Only those who are willing to join God in risking grace by extending it to sinners without hesitation or compromise will know the spontaneous spiritual joy that sparks spiritual revolution.
Undeserved, unending, unearned, unconditional, uncontrollable, unblinking, unbound, undefiled, unequivocal, unfaltering, unhinging, unlimited, unmistakable, unprecedented, unsettling-grace-God’s gift of life to all who believe in His Son, unheard of anywhere else but in Christ.” (p.43)
When British thinkers on comparative religions were debating whether one belief in Christianity set it apart from all other religions came to an impasse, C.S. Lewis walked in. He asked what the rumpus was about, they told him they were trying to determine what Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions was. Lewis answered, “That’s easy. It’s grace.”
He is right. No other religion offers grace like Christianity. What a great way to be unique! Grace is still unique and is still for us today. Love the One who gave it. Live in it. I love you all.