Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

We have had a crazy few weeks. We had an overwhelming response to our Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Sorry we ran out of turkey and ham. That has never happened. Wow, I can't believe how full it was last Wednesday night. Thanks to the choir for moving practice to Tuesday. Greatly appreciate everyone in the church willing to change schedules and be flexible with the how rapidly things change around here. And on Sunday, our Thanksgiving worship service was standing room only at the 9:15 am service (and on a home Chiefs game). I saw several long time members surrender/sacrifice/give up their seats with great hospitality to a visiting couple. You guys are awesome.
Of course, how could I forget the 7th graders and their parents delivery of over 200 toys to Lee's Summit Social Service. This was just in a short 5 day period at Grace, but wow, what a church. Thank you for allowing me to be your pastor and I am very thankful for all God has blessed us with. God has given us a healthy, vital and growing church. Every day is a true joy to be in ministry together. As we approach Advent, be prepared to see many more new faces and remember to be flexible. With growth comes change. Be thankful for that growth and welcome change. God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving. Go in peace and go with God!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Anticipation

Anticipation is excitement about a future event. Over the next few months, Grace will experience a great deal of excitement linked with anticipation. We are moving into a whole new life of ministry these next few years. Our leadership has put together a bold new plan to help transform our facilities into a 21st century building. Linked with this will be a new approach to membership and evangelism. To understate the obvious, I'm a little excited. After numerous personal conversations, group discussion and meetings we are charting a new course. This Sunday, November 16th we take the next step in moving forward with these plans. At our Thanksgiving Dinner on November 19th, we will also be revealing a portion of these plans. So if you have time and are intrigued, see you at church and our dinner this week. You will definitely want to be apart of this exciting adventure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stuff head

Today my head is rather stuffy. It could be a cold or maybe something worse like the flu/virus. Not sure, but I'm stuffed up. I am not a big fan of medicine, as many of my gender are not. I don't go to the doctor unless it is greatly needed. I've tried numerous solutions to a stuff head, but it never seems to be the same. I usually go with the idea of feeding a cold or the flu. Since I don't know which, I just eat. And I try and eat and sleep. Usually in a few days I am feeling better. Most of us probably eat too much and don't sleep enough. God designed our bodies such that we require a certain amount of food, which creates energy to sustain us for only so long until we need to sleep. When you are running on empty and push your heart, mind and soul beyond the point of health, we usually end up sick and grumpy. Being a good steward of my time and energy seems to be a constant struggle. I want to do so many good things every day but many days I am limited by how much time I have to spend on certain things, and when I am running on empty, my energy runs low. Do me a favor this week. Slow down a bit. Look around and take this glorious creation God has given us. None of us spend enough time doing that these days. Pray for guidance, peace and please pray for some rest for our weary souls. Recharge your system and get to doing the Lord's work. Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Blustery Day

Do you remember the old Winnie the Pooh cartoon "The Blustery Day?" Our nieces were over a few weeks ago and they were watching it. I remember watching it when I was much much younger. It's about a very windy day in the hundred acre woods. The wind was blowing everyone all over the place. The wind just kept coming and coming. It is a very windy day today here in Lee's Summit. A piece of siding blew off the building today. It happens during these times of high winds. If things are not secured and prepared to deal with the winds of life, they can fall apart and be blown down. Has a strong storm come upon you lately? Feel a little wind blown and tired? You are probably not alone. I know folks who have recently lost their jobs, others who are struggling to stretch their paychecks and some dealing with stress in relationships. When those winds come we need to hold onto something that is secure. We sometimes need to hold onto someone else who can help us through the most difficult of storms. When I can feel the wind coming, and I know it's going to be a tough day, I go to God in prayer. My first call for help goes to God. He sustains me, leads me and helps me through the great storms that I face. Hold on to God during your rough patches and He will always be there to help you find your way home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let the Celebration Begin

Yes, that's right. I said it. Let the Celebration begin. Are you not excited? I was so excited last night. Why was I excited? Because, we can all rejoice that the Presidential, House, Senate and every other political contest is over which means an end to negative campaign adds for at least the next year. No I am not endorsing any political candidates, and I probably never will. That is not my role. I am a UM Pastor and called to serve the church. I preach, teach, serve and share God's Word in this world. We make disciples here by connecting people to God and neighbor. We are to shine brightly for the non-churched, once-churched and badly churched. I'm sure some of you were very happy about last night and some were rather disappointed. So I am happy and sad for you. The media if fond of watching what the new President will do in his/her first 100 days. I'm curious what you (we) will do with the next 100 days here at Grace. Will we successfully complete our LSSS toy drive, serve a meal at Restart, meet our mission commitments for the year, experience wonderful worship services, joyously gather at the Thanksgiving Dinner, celebrate Christmas with love in our hearts at our Children's Program, Preschool Program, Choir Cantata, Christmas Eve services, ring in the New Year with hope, strengthen our church through the beginnings of a capital campaign, reach out to the least, the last and the lost, and bring joy and comfort to all we encounter?
No one can make us do these things. We have to choose for ourselves what we are going to do these next 100 days.
February 13th is roughly 100 days from now. How will you spend your time?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We Voted Today

Get out and vote today. Jill and I made our way to Aldersgate UMC to vote. We arrived at 6:30 am trying to avoid the crowds at 6:00 am. One our members called this morning at 5:45 am and said that Grace (we have three precincts here) was packed!!! The roads were packed, the line was out into the parking lot and cars were lined along the outer road. It was pandemonium. As Jill and I stood in line for only thirty minutes, the conversations around us were very kind, peaceful and casual. Everyone was excited to be part of a such a historic election. It seems to me that every election is historic, so I guess this one is too. Maybe it's more historic if that is possible. We both found our way in to the R-Z line. When I was a little kid back in elementary school with a last name starting with V I was always at the end of the line. But no, not now. A nice poll worker came walking down the huge line and said, "R thru Z's in our precinct come this way." Well yes we will be taken to the front of the line and vote, thank you very much dad for the last name starting with V. Awesome! This was Jill's first time to use the ink dot ballots. They have computers over in Johnson County. So after they explained how to use them we both were in the voting line. We received our ballots, went our stations and filled out our vote. And we both got green lights, yeah! We did it right. It was a wonderful experience and I hope that everyone gets out and votes today. It's a beautiful day. Enjoy this day and go in peace and go with God.