September 28, 2005

A Sorrowful God

Today I was reading in 1 Samuel about the life of Saul. Saul was a knucklehead. He never did anything right. All I can picture is this tall, gangly guy that is the odd duck of Israel. I think God was using his divine sarcasm here. "You want a king? I'll give you a king!" Then he quickly shouts to a couple of his angels, "Go find me the biggest goofball you can!!"

God chooses, whether reluctantly or not, to use Saul to lead his people since his people didn't get that he wanted to be their King. God sent his spirit onto Saul and empowered him. I think Saul would have been a great king. But, it seems that Saul begins to get in the way of what God is looking for and wanting. Saul messes with the order of things by doing his own sacrifices and not waiting for Samuel. He doesn't fully carry out God's orders in anialating the Amalekites. After that event, God becomes sorrowful that he has made Saul king. Eventually, God removes his spirit from Saul and moves on to David, son of Jesse.

This morning I had breakfast with a couple of ministry partners. We spent some time talking about the the church, our ministries, and the struggles that go along with serving the church. The conversation encouraged me to not be discouraged and as frustrated as I am.

Then I come back to my office for my devotions and I read 1 Samuel 15 about God being sorrowful for making Saul king. I wonder if God is ever sorrowful for the ministry that I've done. I wonder if he is sorrowful for the way his church exists. Are we being what he wants us to be? Has he removed his blessing away and moved on to someone else, another people better focused on being his people in the now? I don't think he has. But, I do think he has the urge to take us out behind the woodshed or to the bathroom for a proverbial beating to straighten us out. Why would he? I know I have the urge from time to time.

I need to find better ways to express myself and help the church be more like the church that God wants it to be. I need to be like my mother--stern, yet extremely loving, and not afraid to carry around a wooden spoon and beat me when I was out of line. May we live in ways that bring God joy and pride, not sorrow.

September 20, 2005

Orchestrated Chaos

Tonight I spent some time in the ER with the family of one of our members at church. It seems that he had a brain aneurysm in the shower. They rushed him to the hospital and he is currently in the Neuro ICU. There are talks of surgery and who knows what else to relieve the pressure in his head.

While we were there comforting the family, we congregated in the hallway. This put us in the path of everyone coming into the ER. It was a busy night tonight. Doctors, nurses, and technicians were all scurrying around doing their jobs. It was totally chaotic, yet probably exactly what was supposed to happen. How they keep track of so many things and care for so many people at one time is beyond me, let alone the intricacies of the procedures and evaluations they do on so many different types of needs. It is a blessing that they can orchestrate so many things with so many people in such a way.

If you would, please take a moment to pray for Ken and his family when you read this. He is loved by all and the center of the family. They need him and he needs them. Pray for us as the people of South to be able to minister to them with everything we have.

September 6, 2005

Labor Day And Other Things

Yesterday we celebrated Labor Day--I guess another day off before we hit the fall. I'm not opposed to Labor Day. I like days off. It's just interesting to me that we have to make a national holiday to get a day off.

Labor Day means smaller numbers at church. Most of the time this holds true. However, the last few years at the church I serve, larger than normal Labor Day crowds have been present. This means one of two things this year. One, our people didn't want to pay for traveling gas, or two, they had traveled way too much during the summer that they felt the need to stay home.

As for other things at church--we challenged our people to help out with the hurricane relief financially through a couple of and We are also planning on collecting and sending a truckload of stuff in the next couple of weeks when we know more of what the people need, even though only a handful of our hundreds of people have asked about helping out or have even seemed concerned for those in the Gulf.

In a conversation with one of our people concerning this, they said, "we could have a church wide garage sale to raise money for the hurricane victims. I have plenty of junk to donate to it." Now, I know this person was being very considerate at the time. It just didn't sit well in my head. Here people are in another part of our country with nothing and all we can think about to help them is to sell garage sale type trinkets to raise money.

When are we going to get a clue and stop thinking about ourselves? When is the church going to stop serving itself and living for others? We have a lot to learn.

I have a lot to learn.