Weekday Musings with Pastor Brian - 11/12
I want to thank all of you who were praying for me, and for the message I delivered on Sunday. It was a tough message, but I wanted to do it in a manner that honored God and our mission. I heard from many of you. And… I also know some were offended. Sadly, when you struggle with truth and faith, that is to be expected, but it reminds us of our need to be very much in prayer for the lives and hearts of those not only in our community, but… even in our own church. A verse I always come back to is something Jesus said in John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” So… if it isn’t truth, what’s the point, and what’s the hope?
This Sunday I believe we are in for a very special blessing. Tom Toone will be delivering our message. It is around the second anniversary of his cancer diagnosis. I remember vividly being asked to meet him at the school. My first thought was, “I have to go to the principle’s office… Yikes!” What I heard from Tom, as he shared what he had just heard from his doctor, left me in tears and devastated for my friend. This has been a hard journey for him; one in which he came very, very close to transitioning to his heavenly home several times. And though he is cancer free now, there is still much in the way of residual damage from the cancer.
Maybe you’ve been struggling, suffering, and are trying to make sense of it all. Maybe you have a friend or loved one who is going through it. This is a message you and they will not want to miss. Tom isn’t going to share some intellectual musings; he is going to speak from genuine faith lived out in a real “valley of the shadow of death”.
I shared with you last week that I had a couple of… I will call them “ministerial paradigms” severely challenged recently; things I took for granted as necessary and appropriate and even important as expressions of proper worship and conduct in the service. Both of them have been a difficult “pill to swallow”, for I am wired relationally. But as I alluded to above, truth is truth. Here is the first (the second for a later musing): I learned recently that the “Stand and Greet Time” we have in our service to welcome guests and make them feel at home, might just in fact be having the opposite effect. I don’t know if you caught it, but Tom Rainer, President of Lifeway, put out an article a couple of weeks ago in which he shared the “Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-time Guests.” #1 was: “Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service.” It didn’t just blow me away (it also did him); it went viral. Since then he has done several follow-up articles, and there have been many more posts from people saying the very same thing. In essence: “If you want to truly welcome first-time guests, and encourage them to return to hear God’s Word in your church, DO NOT have a Stand and Greet Time.” What is fascinating, is the number of people who were guests at churches who found out about the article and responded to it. The only real positives I saw seemed to come from people who appealed to the tradition of their church and/or what they thought should matter.
I will be speaking to this at our Membership Meeting next Wednesday (19th). Speaking of which, the 19th is our Annual Membership Meeting where we go over and affirm the Annual Budget for next year. There are a couple of things I need to address regarding that as well. I do pray you can make it.
As always, there is plenty going on to keep us busy. This Saturday is our Breakfast and Work-day starting at 7:30am. It is a time of good “vittles” and great fellowship as we help keep our church looking and serving it’s best. Tonight we have our Focus Team Meetings where we will put together our recommendations and strategy for 2015. We will be sharing that with our Leadership Team in December, and to the church at large at a special meeting in January.
Several of you asked for a listing of the “other Abominations” from Scripture. If you’re like me, you didn’t feel quite so “good” after seeing them. But then Paul did say what he said in Romans 3:10 and following. I’ll post those below. Have a most blessed week. I am so blessed to be your pastor!
What God Calls Abominations in Scripture
But... Homosexuality is not the only “abomination”… Here are some of what God calls an abomination in His Word:
- Possession of Idols (Deut. 7:25)
- Sacrificing things to God that are blemished or defective (Deut. 17:1)
- Witchcraft, sorcery, mediums, spiritists, and such (Deut. 18:10-14)
- Hands that shed innocent blood (abortion?)
- False witness
- Those who sow discord among brethren (Prov. 6:16-19; 12:22; 16:5)
- Dishonesty and deceitfulness in commerce (Prov. 25:13-16)
- Prayers from those who ignore God’s Word (Prov. 28:9)
- Wickedness (Prov. 8:7), and Leaders who commit it (16:12)
- Those who justify wickedness and condemn the righteous (Prov. 17:15)
- Insincere Worship (Isaiah 1:11-17)
- Taking advantage of the poor and needy (Ezek 18:13)
- Adultery (Ezek 22:2)
- False Shepherds (44:7)