MIDWEEK MESSAGE #42
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #42! Thanks for taking the time to read this each week. I know it is the highlight of your week. 🙂 Some of you are probably wondering, “And I wonder what he is going to say this week that will be earth-shattering?” No? You are probably the wiser of us then. Anyway, I’m glad you are taking the time to read this.
We had both our first in person and online service this past Sunday in four weeks. After being virtual for three weeks due to Covid, it was decided to cautiously take that first step to see how things would go. I had no idea what to expect to be honest. Getting back to pre-Covid days may never happen again. Who knows? It took us almost 3 months to start picking up some steam after the first shut down, then we found ourselves having to shut it down the Sunday after Christmas. But we made it through the first wave and with God’s help we will make it through this wave as well. I am totally convinced He is in charge and was not surprised by any of this. He knows the beginning and the end. Being the human I am I want to say, “Would you please hurry up and bring that end we all so badly want?” 🙂 We had some folks venture out and come Sunday. Some of you chose to stay home. And that’s okay. There is only one thing I ask: would you mind just saying, “I am here” or “The so-and-so family is here” or something like that so we can get an idea of how many are tuning in? Thanks.
I want to tell you about something your elders are doing. In December I asked them to start praying on a regular basis for the folks at the church. I took the directory that Diana puts together and divided it up between the 5 of us (3 elders plus Ryan and me). For one whole month they were given a list of about 19-20 names to pray for. At the beginning of this month I shifted the list around so we would all be praying for a different group of people. I asked them to have the freedom to pray however they would like for you-every day for all or to split their list into equal numbers for each day. “Whatever floats their boat.” Speaking for myself, I have enjoyed praying for the folks I have had in December and now the new list in January. It sure beats the old “Father, be with the church family today.” That is such a general prayer I wonder even if it goes beyond the ceiling of the house. It has truly been a great experience for me to pray for the latter part of the alphabet and now the first part.
Now…here is where you come in. May I challenge you to do the same? If you are unsure start with the leaders (Wayne Akerson, Jeff Carlson, David Robertson, Ryan and me). Take one of us a day. Then maybe you can get a copy of the directory from Diana and start a prayer walk through the directory on your own. Even if you don’t know someone that won’t matter. God knows them and He hears your prayer for them. Take two or three a day if that is all the time you have. The amount of people you pray for does not matter; it is the fact that you prayed which does. If you have trouble understanding what I just said rack it up to my Covid brain and give me a call or text. I’ll try to explain better. And if you would like a copy of the directory and can’t get here to get one, I will be glad to bring it by your house and either visit or just leave it in your door. Diana is happy to e-mail you a copy of the directory as well, just ask (firstname.lastname@example.org). J I honestly think it will change you and I know it will change the ones you pray for.
Speaking of the elders, we are blessed with some good men. In some of my reading I am astounded by the churches faltering because they have not adjusted or are unwilling to adjust to what is being called “the new normal.” I will sarcastically say, “Normal? What is that?” Anyway, one of the big attitude differences that separates growing churches from declining churches is the “We Can vs We Can’t” mentality. To summarize: “Growing churches believe they can; Declining churches believe they can’t.” Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” What I have appreciated about these men you have chosen to lead OVCF is that they are willing to try things and even if we are wrong, at least we tried. Frankly, this whole mess we are in is not our preference. I personally liked it when we didn’t have to worry about live stream and people staying away. But that is no longer an option. We either do both or we don’t survive. I’m proud of working with men who said, “We gotta do this.” Supported it all the way and still do. I’ve worked with leadership who would have balked with the words “We never did it that way before.” (called the seven last words of the church). Would I like to see our building full? Sure. We all would. But we gotta do what we gotta do. And your leaders were willing to try. You can thank God for men who were not stuck in the mud of the past. I sure am.
Well, my time is up for this week. I hope you are having and will have a good rest of the week. I love you all.