Monthly Archives: November 2010

More than one day’s work

Last night, back in the hotel after our extended family’s Thanksgiving celebration, I had a chance to just lose myself in the book of Psalms. I had no plan, just opened the book and silently asked the Lord where should I go. And I looked down at the page and felt such a compulsion to read the passage I opened to.

I ended up reading from Psalm 139 through to 143. Of course, I have read these before, but since August I have begun using the New Living Translation as my primary study Bible so it was like they were each brand new reading for me.

I LOVE this translation! Using primarily the vocabulary list used when Ken Taylor penned his Living Bible paraphrase some 30 years ago, this is an actual dynamic translation of Scripture from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. If I’m working with someone who doesn’t really understand the old language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, THIS is the version I use to expose them to the Scriptures. And since I grew up with that old English as my primary Biblical language, my decision to use this version has really made me reconsider whether I really understand what I’ve read in the past.

There was SO much the Lord brought to life as I read, but this morning there’s one verse I’m still chewing on: “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

We often talk about finding our refuge and safety in the Lord, and even pray that God will protect us from the wicked, but this verse is a clear indication of how we need to also be protected from ourselves! Often I am my own worst enemy.

SO… today my prayer is that I can yield my control of my tongue (that hasn’t worked out so well many times) and allow God to take control of what I say… and guard my lips.

That’s more than one day’s work right there.

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Thanksgiving 2010

This is my Thanksgiving letter for 2010 that’s being mailed to family and friends of Reynoldsville’s First United Methodist Church.

(clicking on the image should take you to a full size view)

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This was my church newsletter article from july…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

—Exodus 17:11-12, English Standard Version (ESV)

In Exodus 17:8-14, there is a record of one of the first battles faced by the recently freed Egyptian slaves on their journey to their ancestral homeland: Israel. The Lord tells Moses to send Joshua out with the fighting men to defend the children of Israel (perhaps a million or more people!) Meanwhile, Moses is to go to the top of the nearby mountain that overlooks the plain where the battle is being fought. God’s deal was this: As long as Moses’ hands were raised in blessing over the fighting Israelite warriors, Israel was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired and he had to put them down every few minutes. And that’s when the enemy, the Amalekites, had the upper hand.

So Moses’ brother, Aaron, and his father-in-law, Hur (also called Jethro), got a rock for Moses to sit on and then they literally helped hold his hands up non-stop and, indeed, the Israelites won the battle!

Who was the leader? Moses, yes, and Joshua, too. But Aaron and Hur were just as important, for they enabled the ministry (God’s blessing through Moses’ outstretched arms) to continue. Without those two, the battle would not have been won.

Last March, (2009) a group of six leaders from our congregation joined me near Pittsburgh for a weekend ministry training event called PARTNERS IN MINISTRY. It was based, in part, on this spiritual principle that there are NO unimportant parts of the church’s ministry team. Agreed, the pastor, lay leader, and some committee heads are much more visible, but we firmly believe we cannot do everything that God has called us to do without the help of every single one of the people that God has sent to this church family.

How are you involved in helping our church minister to others? Are you a volunteer on a work team with the trustees or perhaps our NHN (Neighbors Helping Neighbors) mission group or the LINUS Project? Do you work behind the scenes on a committee helping to set up projects and events? Or are you simply one who has the ministry of Aaron and Hur, encouragers and supporters, who literally make all the difference to our ministry team leaders?

That’s one of the key pieces of the whole Partners in Ministry idea. We are ALL in this together. It’s sort of like having a box with all the parts of a beautiful, sleek mountain bike. It does absolutely no good to anyone unless those separate pieces are assembled together. And if, when you’re trying to assemble that bike, you discover there’s one (or two or 20) of the pieces missing, then there is NO WAY that the end product will be a safe, working bicycle.

Friends, we’re a lot like those bicycle pieces: each of us essential for the completion of this congregation’s true purpose of making disciples. But unless we have stepped into our specific ministries (like Moses, Joshua, Aaron, & Hur did), then our task, and our ministry, will never be accomplished. Furthermore, it is in the coming together that we can be ‘assembled’ by our Heavenly Father. Can you be a Christian by yourself? Yes, but like Thomas, you may just miss the moment when Jesus comes, because you’re not “assembled together.”

What is your ministry? How can you serve God along side us?

What excuses keep you from worshipping with us or ministering with us? What needs to happen to fix that?

Encourage. Serve. Assemble. Attend. Bless. Worship.

And see what God will do in us and through us for His glory!

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Getting Back into the swing of things

Well, it has been a LONG time since I was able to post ANYTHING! Personal health concerns, church responsibilities and concerns, and the extended family kinds of stuff have all taken their toll.

Over the next few days, I’ll at least post some of the things I have written during my hiatus.

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