Here’s some thoughts from yesterday’s topic.
- I got the chance to talk about one of my favorite verses in the Bible (Isaiah 57:1). Sometimes, we see good people die prematurely…tragically…and we’re left with questions. But I easily forget that God has this larger perspective than mine. Sometimes, God delivers us from a job, or a dating relationship, or even this life, because he is lovingly protecting us from something bad that he foresees in our future
- I mentioned several of the people who committed "one too many sins" (the "sin to death" of 1 John 5:16-17). I wanted to give you several of the references:
- Israel committed a "sin to death" when they chose not to believe that God could take them into the Promised Land. Anyone over 20 had their death scattered over the next 40 years in the wilderness. (Numbers 14:29-35)
- Korah commited a "sin to death" when he falsely accused Moses of grasping for & abusing his power as leader. They died the day of the offense. (Numbers 16)
- Uzzah committed a "sin to death" when he touched the ark, when they should have been carrying it on poles anyway. He died instantly. (2 Samuel 6:1-7)
- Ananias & Sapphira committed a "sin to death" when they gave a large amount of money to a special offering but lied about giving all the proceeds of a sale. They died instantly, the moment they lied to God & everyone. (Acts 5:1-11)
- Certain Christians committed a "sin to death" when they took communion, hypocritically communicating to all they they were right with God. They died progressively through stages: from weakness, to sickness, to death. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
I received these thoughts shortly after service today:
- From a comment — A first-time visitor caught me in the hall. It had been several months since they had worshiped with a Christian community and they had seen the effects upon their spiritual life. After hearing "how Jesus views our sins" during the service, they told me they decided to do the right thing with an extra pair of shoes that were erroneously shipped to them: instead of keeping them, they decided to return them. You cannot underestimate what a single act of integrity will do!
- From a note — "Today’s service ministered to me in a significant way. I have been searching for answers to my father’s passing for the last three years. Trying to understand how a man who loved and preached the word of God could be taken from us. Then today, it all made sense…his leaving us was to protect him from something far worse…I wanted you to know that the last few weeks has really ministered to me. I have been harboring bitterness towards God–tryng to grasp what has happened-but not knowing how to go through the process. Thanks…"
- My thoughts — I live for this…people continually growing…hearing from God & wrestling with the toughest questions of life.
Here are some other thoughts from the day:
- It was awesome to see those 7 people baptized! "Jim the Baptist" does a great job presenting people’s stories. (We’ve got more baptisms coming up this next week.)
- Wasn’t it cool to celebrate the sending out of Nicole Nance as our missionary to the University of Maryland with the Navigators? There’s still time to participate in supporting her ministry there. Just indicate your desire on your offering envelope. (Here she is pictured with Dean, our Director of World Missions.)
- A lady caught me after church. She was celebrating the fact that her preschool daughter actually went into her Sunday School class at Grace. The mother started gushing about our Preschool Ministry Director who worked so well with her daughter to give her a good experience. I asked, "What did she look like?" She replied, "She’s got mid-level length blond hair." I responded, "Oh yea…I sleep with that woman." She looked at me with a very surprised look. ("Hmmm," I wondered. "Maybe I shouldn’t have said that…" Sometimes I wish I could press <Rewind>! 🙂 ) Then I said, "She’s my wife…and she is wonderfully gifted for & passionate about children."
- I don’t think people realize how AWESOME, how gifted, & how dedicated our volunteers are. There’s NO WAY any of us (starting with me) could make the kind of impact we are making if we tried alone. Case in point today? The WST Video Team. Yesterday, I threw, not just 1, but 2 curve balls at them. Adrian & Jim were awesome, while Doug was away. Thanks guys!
- Curve Ball #1 — I took the above picture of Nicole & Dean right before services. And Adrian & Jim were able to get ‘er done.
- Curve Ball #2 — Someone grabbed me between services & told me their idol wasn’t on our list of "American idols": himself. "Great point," I told him. We were able to add the word "Me!" to the pictures of the "American idols" on screen for 2nd service. Adrian downloaded the new PowerPoint while the 2nd service singing was going. No problem!
- I think you noticed that we were PACKED OUT: 946! Ben noticed it too. Three things to do:
- Attend the 1st worship (9:00 a.m.) and love people enough to free up your space for guests
- Volunteer. Use your unique gifts & abilities to serve people thru a Grace ministry
- Pray about the right timing (& right day & time) for launching a 3rd service