Midweek Message 07/12/2023


Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #164. After a week’s hiatus due to the holiday and other stuff (how’s that for an educational word?) I’m back. I know you missed me. If not, please don’t tell me. ☺

Our Military Person of the week to pray for is Robert Herrington. Robert is a 2nd LT and just graduated the infantry officer basic leadership course. His desire is to complete both ranger and airborne school before moving to Ft. Johnson, Louisiana in December, where he will be part of 1st battalion 509th infantry regiment Geronimo.

As most of you are aware, Pastor Ryan & Hope, and their children, Anna, Caleb and Rachel leave for a 7 week sabbatical this week. He will be incommunicado during this time. If you have any questions please direct them to Diana or me. I could say just Diana since she know a whole lot more than me about what is going on. ☺ We will try to answer any questions you may have. With that in mind, Pastor Ryan asked if I would include the following in my MM and I told him, “Sure.” So here is a “send-off note” from Ryan:

As you read this, it’s very likely that we are somewhere in the flatlands of Iowa, Nebraska or South Dakota making our way west in our grand “the Easts go West” road trip. Our anticipation at this stage is set on the sites of grandeur that await in the beautiful western national parks. I’m looking forward to Friday’s sunrise peeking over the pinnacles at the Badlands in SD.

Recently, one of our students, who is a football player, commented on how summer conditioning is going. It’s hard, hot work meant to yield mental toughness and physical strength and endurance. Its benefits compound, meaning the more regularly you do it – the greater the payoff over time. Conditioning done once yields little results, but conditioning done over time leads to great endurance and much gain.

Back to that SD sunrise… watching God doing something beautiful and AWEsome, majestic and wondrous – doing that once is great, but over time, done daily will yield a compounding kind of AWE and praise of God. It is to the soul of a Christ-follower what summer conditioning is to a football player. We are praying that God would condition our hearts to be AWED by Him and to love Him and praise Him and give thanks to Him – over and over as we repeatedly take in the majesty of what He’s created.

This leads me to a last thought. It is easy to praise God in such circumstances, natural even. But what about in the less-beautiful parts of life, in the daily grind, in the normal stuff, in the busy calendar, in the pile of dirty dishes and laundry to be done, when the uncut grass reminds you there’s still normal work to be done, responsibilities to be attended to? What about an attitude of praise and thanksgiving when the bills pile up, when others let you down, when prayers seem to go unanswered, even feel unheard. In those times, praise doesn’t come easy and thanksgiving feels unnatural. In all these circumstances, lean hard on the TRUTH: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again rejoice. Does your heart need the kind of conditioning that only rejoicing can bring?  I want to practice this truth daily, regardless of circumstances. Will you join me in that practice? May God reveal his love and favor to you as the eyes of your heart search for him through praise and thanksgiving! May his abundant grace be yours!

We love you. We are grateful for this season. And we are praying for you! Thank you for your prayers, love and support. -Ryan

My guess is that it will seem a little different around here. In our Monday staff meetings, Ryan is the one who normally brings the Dry Bar Comedy video to make us laugh, or the scene from The Chosen to make us think, or the video to make us shed a tear. It will seem strange not seeing him on the drums. It will seem odd not hearing a foreign accent (British, Scottish, Australian, Russian, etc) not coming at random times. We were talking this past Saturday, when he stopped in at the office, about making memories. I can still remember the anniversaries spent at camp when I was a dean in Ohio, or Tami’s face when she found out she had been tricked and that we were going through Dyersville, Iowa to stop off at the Field of Dreams in 1993. (I can also remember Janna’s face and demeanor when she found out we were in Illinois and almost home on that same vacation. ☺ She is a homebody). And I can also still remember Janna’s hesitation and ultimate joy when she shared that she really wanted to go back to Lincoln Christian University for her Sophomore year and I said, “We will make it happen.” Memories are the building blocks of family life that last forever. Pray for Pastor Ryan and Hope and their children to make lasting memories…even when the “fun” of being in a van for what seems like forever becomes a chore. I told him I would pray they would all survive and still like each other at the end of their trip. ☺

As I stated this past Sunday, I have returned to the series on Revelation after the two month hiatus on Anxiety, Worry, Fear, and Depression. My sermon this week will be Here Comes Trouble from Revelation 6:9-17. My plan is to be in Revelation until the end of August and then do a series on The God We Worship.  I’ll give more details as I firm them in the future.

We have one camper this week: Trevor Floyd will be going to Hilltop for the first ever Paintball Camp. Yeah…I probably won’t make that visit. Trevor might decide to “welcome” me. ☺  Next week we have two campers: Julian Carson and Cooper Wood for the Junior II week.

Jacob and Mia McCall will be with us at both services on July 23rd to tell us about their work in the Dominican Republic. I will still be preaching that morning as well.

One more thing: Move-Up Sunday is the 30th. I will share more in upcoming MMs.

Have a great rest of the week. I hope you are enjoying your summer. I miss seeing some of you on Sundays but I hope you are watching our live stream. This past Sunday Christine Chambers texted to say that she had to work at the restaurant but, when it was time for church to start, Eliza (age 10) asked her to sign in so she could watch. That is so cool! One more thing: never forget you are loved.

Pastor Bill

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