Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's No Fun to be Sick!

For the past few weeks sickness has visited my house in a variety of disgusting and painful ways. While in a near comatose state crashed out on the couch, the Lord taught me several painful lessons--perhaps you’ve thought about these things too. The first thing I learned relatively quickly is that I’m not nearly as strong as I think I am. Just add a little virus into my body and I crumble like a little baby! What weaklings we are--really! The perspective when I am on my knees in pain is priceless because it crushes my pride. I again come to the realization that I need the Lord for the littlest things in life and how He truly does hold me in the palm of His hand. Next to this, while I was sick, I came see how everyone ran away from me for fear of getting what I had. My sickness drove everyone away from me (which was a good idea) but left me all alone in my pain. I thought about the lepers on the edge of town suffering in isolation until Jesus heard their cry. Not only physical sickness but spiritual sickness as well will isolate you to experience the consequences of the pain and suffering of sinful choices. And when you’re isolated and alone, the pain just hurts all the more. The last recollection of my “sickness sermon” that the Lord taught me was that I can’t function the way I need too while I’m sick. I kept saying, “Lord, I’ve got things to do and people to see and I just don’t have time for this!” Friends, the Lord is so patient with us. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it! It was time for His servant George to learn another lesson about trusting God through the valleys of life. There is a reason we call it “Amazing Grace”.

My friends, I pray that you don’t get sick this winter but if you do I hope that there’s a sickness sermon for you from the Great Physician!

Walking in grace, Pastor George

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Surprises

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. My wife and I were invited to the home of my son's new in-laws. They were were very gracious hosts and we felt quite welcome. We enjoyed getting to know them and had a great time.

The highlight was my son and his new bride announcing that she is pregnant. Having just been married in October, they obviously did not waste any time. They are going on their official honeymoon at the end of December. Please keep both Mitch and Melissa in your prayers and ask God for an uneventful pregnancy along with a healthy baby.

As most of you know, the Sunday before Thanksgiving is designed as My Brother's Keeper Sunday. On that day, we take up our special offering for our benevolence ministry. This year we received over $4400 to help those in need. Given the state of our economy and our own financial difficulties as a congregation, this is truly a testament to the graciousness of God working through His people.

This is just the beginning of what I know God is going to do through My Brother's Keeper. With a new team of people, the ministry will grow and touch even more lives than it already has.

Transformation or Degradation

My wife reminded me that Sunday (first Sunday in October)was my tenth anniversary as the preacher of Crossroads. Whether you see that as a good thing or a bad thing depends on your prospective I guess. For me personally, it has prompted some deep introspection. It is not that I don't have regrets because I do. If you have ever tried to do anything worthwhile for God, you will make your share of mistakes. The secret is to learn from them, not dwell in them. The source of my personal reflection is that I have been long enough to see the long term results of my labors.

I continue to be amazed by the transformation God has brought about in the lives of some of our members. I am equally concerned when I see that some people have not grown at all in nearly ten years. I wonder what can we do as a congregation to inspire more transformation in the lives of individuals. The business axiom "the system you have is perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting" keeps coming the mind.

I am researching this subject and praying that God will open my eyes to areas where we can improve. It may be that we need to totally rethink our whole structure. At this point, I am open to suggestions and invite your comments.