It is just a few minutes until my first online blog/webinar for The Bible in 90 Days. It took me a few days to develop a plan for executing this event. As of 8:30 PM, 12 people are choosing to make this their method of study for The Bible in 90 Days program at First United Methodist Church. I’ll update after the event.
I’m writing Open Skies this week, so I was doing a little research. When writing worship services, I look at a variety of sources to help me reflect on the scriptures and message the pastors are conveying. Usually, I start with wikipedia. It isn’t always the most truthful entity but it is always a jumping off point.
I stumbled across the bio of a particular famous person. This person lost more money in one day than any other person in the history of the stock market — $452 million. This person was the most successful person in their line of work — selling an entire years quota in two weeks. Yet, this person was ignored by supervisors and higher ups. When leaving to form a new company, this person had 77 failed attempts to land a SINGLE contract for the new business venture.
If all of this happened to you, what would you do?
By the way, it was H. Ross Perot. I’d say he overcame adversity and kept his life moving forward pretty good.
My devotion time for today is a passage from Hebrews that I hadn’t read before. It reads:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more you see the Day approaching.” (TNIV)
Do you think Paul was encouraging the people to be sure and gather for worship? How easy is it on a sunny, clear day, not to make it to worship? Is it simple to give up the habit of meeting together in faith? While maybe we don’t give it up entirely, is it easy to come less often?
What do you think?
We remembered the saints of FUMC Missouri City today. I knew a lot of the names intimately. In addition to the persons who have died, we remembered the persons we had baptized this year — moving from the saints past to saints future. I knew many of them personally, too.
It was very moving to stop and take “inventory” of sorts. By inventory, I mean who stands beside me serving Christ in body and who stands in Christ serving with me in spirit. Sobering day, to say the least. I was most moved by the prelude processional at 11 AM. The faces of the people as they placed the pillar candle on the altar in honor of their husband, wife, daughter, son, or friend.
On a day when we recall the saints, I had to ask myself if I am preparing the church of the future? Am I doing everything I can to make sure that I further the kingdom? I seriously doubt it. I fall short. Constantly.
When I was in Kansas City, Rev. Adam Hamilton asked 1900 of us in a plenary session this question: “Would you give up your preferred style of worship if it meant that 100 people would come to Christ? Even tougher, would you give up your preferred style of worship if it meant 1 person would?”
I had a hard time hearing that. Although I’m pretty eclectic in my worship style preference, I wasn’t sure what I could give up? There are distinct and intimate ways I personally connect to the Holy — a huge choir anthem with a pipe organ, an excellent worship film, a moving sermon, The Apostle’s Creed, a worship band, just to name a few. And, I should note that I don’t care for all of those acts of worship in one worship service. I like things separated out a bit.
My thoughts go to a piece of information that I read on a the North Alabama Conference website. On Bishop Willimon’s site, there was a quote that I remember that said something to this effect “For every new church we (United Methodists) start, we close three.” Ouch. That is painful to hear.
Open one new church, close three – that is a terrible ratio.
If it meant one person would come to Christ, what would I be willing to give up? Have I done everything I can do to further the kingdom of God?
Let’s just say I continue to struggle. Pray for me.
This evening, I was working at the church getting some video equipment set up. During a break, I stopped to chat with a good friend. I had passed on a devotion/sermon to her and we talked about that sermon. While the Open Skies Band rehearsed, we chatted.
After that conversation, I thought about this Sunday, which is All-Saints Sunday. Our confab during band practice centered around making small changes in your life. It made me think and reflect on our own church saints.
The saints we will honor didn’t cure cancer, end world hunger, or invent the longer lasting light bulb. But, one person was a nurse and helped patients for many years. One person served each week at the local food pantry. One person made sure that the buillding was in good shape for impacting lives in and out of our church community. Their impact will be felt in the years ahead. All of them made a difference one life at a time.
While in Kansas City, I heard Adam Hamilton talk of a person who, in traffic, cut in front of him. Instead of getting angry, he took a moment to pray for that person. Perhaps they were in an emergency. Perhaps they just couldn’t find peace in their life which led them to be stressed. He prayed for peace for that person. And, by doing so, he, Adam Hamilton, was changed. He made a difference by changing his life and then, through a prayer, making a difference for someone else. And, small changes pay forward to greater things in Christ.
What one small difference will you make?