1. Yesterday was Mission Sunday at our church. The goal was to make people aware of some of the opportunities that are available - that they can do. There were all levels of mission activity, from hands-on to monthly payment to prayers to writing letters to sending Bibles. I felt spiritually heavy around this issue and this service - like the last thing Satan wanted was for people to catch fire for mission (which I know is true). So he was throwing everything he could against it.
But things went pretty well. The weather cooperated and we had good attendance (so many people could hear the words). One of the speakers spoke from her own experience, how God convinced her to participate in prison ministry, and how she's been affected by it (not to mention how those imprisoned young people have been transformed). She challenged the congregation that every one of them can do something. It was exactly the challenge I wanted to make, but I felt like she made it better than I would have.
Unfortunately, not everyone got it. As I greeted the congregation members following the service, one gentleman said to me, "Nice sermon."
I hadn't preached.
He then backpedaled and said, "You gave us a lot to think about."
I hope he meant it.
2. Every month, we have a county-wide clergy meeting with our Assistant District Superintendent. I have been impressed with the "new guy" (who started last July 1). I admit that I didn't like him at first (before I'd even met him) because of who his friends were and some unpleasant conflicts with some of them and a perception of him being a part of an "Old Boys' Network."
While the "old guy" (who retired) was a good guy who related well to us, his concern, love, and care seemed to be first and foremost aimed at the United Methodist Church, specifically the churches in his district. The "new guy" has demonstrated that his concern, love, and care is first and foremost for the pastors of those churches.
I found out this week that we will not be having our monthly meeting because "new guy" will be with his daughter, who is having some medical tests. I couldn't be more pleased. Not because we won't be having the meeting (I don't mind the meetings - it's a free breakfast; the meetings are a good way to keep in touch with the district and the other clergy of the county; we get a free breakfast; the meetings happen just down the street from my weekly accountability group's meeting place, so it's convenient; did I mention food?), but because "new guy" is putting his family first.
That's a great example of what we as clergy should be doing.
3. Christmas is coming, and all our Christmas gifts have been purchased. Now if we can just figure out a good time to exchange gifts with the rest of the family! (I think we've gotten part of that figured out). The sad thing is Uncle Dunce and Aunt Mrs. Dunce won't be able to get here from across the pond.
4. I just got Chris Tomlin's See The Morning CD. I have loved his previous recordings, so I have high hopes for this one. We'll see how it grows on me.
5. We have made it to 2007 on our scrapbook(s). We are doing a separate one for Andrew's first year (like we did for Jonathan). It's amazing how much they have grown in a year! We completed 14 pages yesterday evening, which has to be something of a productivity record in our house.
6. I really like college football, and this year has been crazy. It's hard to believe that Ohio State and L.S.U. are going to play in the national championship game. I don't have superb insight into college football or anything (I hardly have even watched a game), but this year has been fun with all of the upsets. Mostly I'm talking about the #1 and #2 teams losing (not Duke beating Northwestern), but I loved seeing Notre Dame taking a beating (did you know that a google search for "Notre Dame Sucks" drew some 73,100 hits?).
7. At the Y today, I think it was "flaunt the rules" day. I was jogging on the track, which overlooks the basketball courts, and there were three young kids (obviously siblings) playing down there. The oldest (who was probably 9) was shooting baskets. His younger siblings were climbing on stacks of chairs and gymnastics equipment.
Why were they in there unsupervised? So mom could work out.
Then, as I ran, an older guy came to walk on the track. But he insisted on walking in the opposite direction of traffic. There is a large sign that directs which way traffic should travel (M,W,F, traffic goes counterclockwise, T,TH,SAT,SUN traffic goes clockwise) - it's not too hard to figure out. It's even less difficult when there is already someone on the track.
Yet he insisted on going the wrong way. Sounds like life, doesn't it?
8. I love the Bible study I'm in. Even though sometimes people come up with some wacky ideas (like the Mormonesque one I reported a few weeks ago), it's exciting to delve deeply into the scriptures and find out what they say and what they could mean. It's fun to find a troublesome passage and really get into a deep discussion about why it's so hard to understand.
9. Now I think that's really all I've got to say.