Hello, Crossroads Family!
I look forward to being with you this Sunday morning! It has been a joy to re-connect with several of you already this week, and I look forward to meeting up with others during the week as we bring people into an ever-deepening relationship with God and with each other!
Thanks for praying for my vacation time. It was good, and I find myself tanked up again … as evidenced yesterday when thoughts for sermons and ministry flowed freely.
Let me share a little bit about my vacation time. Considering that I blew out the back glass on my car with a rock launched from my weedeater, and my desktop computer finally crashed, and my vacuum cleaner gave out, I had my hands full! I had a lot of help from people like Konner and Jaci who gave me a ride to the Kansas City airport for my flight to South Carolina, and Jason Burrows who picked me up at KCI at midnight and returned me to Nevada following my trip! It’s good to belong to the family of God, isn’t it ! Thanks to everyone for their help, and to Jerry Carlin and Shane McCasslin for preaching in my place the past two Sundays.
I enjoyed my time in South Carolina with my daughter Annie and granddaughter Fiona. Columbia, South Carolina, is a special town with special memories for our family, and Annie has her own set of friends and special places there that I was able to get better acquainted with. I enjoyed being in her church on Sunday morning, connecting with many friendly people there (including the mother of my daughter-in-law Molly) on a typically beautiful South Carolina Sunday morning. Annie played the piano and the organ (loved that!), and led a small worship team.
I also enjoyed a day in Branson where I caught up with Esther and Evan on the campus of College of the Ozarks, toured the Ralph Foster Museum where Evan has been working this summer, played a short game of tennis with Samuel (and got beat !), and had dinner with all the kids and my mom that evening.
I did some things completely on my own for the first time … like going to a movie by myself (not a great movie; I give it one thumb up and two thumbs down; I’ll tell you more about it on Sunday), and going through a museum by myself (a wonderful experience; you can actually stop and read about the things on display!).
Mostly, though, I enjoyed that feeling of my time being my own for a few days. I did a lot of cleaning of the house and going through things, now that I’m the only one in the house. I read a lot: the three books I spent the most time on were A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (a book on discipleship by Eugene Peterson), Keep Sharp (a book on keeping your brain healthy by Sanjay Gupta), and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. What a riot that story is! I got hooked on the 1995 movie with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. So good and so funny, I think I could watch it every night. Such good music, too!
I watched a long documentary series on the Apollo space program (really good), and I played a little bit of tennis. (But most of my regular tennis partners are moving away!) I kept up with my favorite internet programs on biblical prophecy, listening to one extended teaching on the battle of Gog and Magog (from the book of Ezekiel) which may very well be in the process of setting up, as Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Syria draw closer together, and as Israel grows in prosperity and influence in the Middle East. (Even Russia’s intervention in Ukraine could be a prelude to this.) Wow, Ezekiel wrote about these things 2500 years ago!
Some lessons learned:
- God is trustworthy. He guides and does just as He has lovingly promised to do. Life can be lived confidently, one day at a time, as we rely on Him and follow Him with faith. That’s often the very simple thing we lack, isn’t it — faith. May God grow our faith. Elisabeth Elliot says, “Mercifully, God does not leave us to choose our own curriculum, for life or for this day. Give us this day, Lord, our daily bread, our daily lessons, and our daily homework.” What’s God’s homework for you today? What’s His class about today?
- The importance of good care of our bodies. In the “brain” book I’ve been reading, the doctor admits there is much unknown about diseases that afflict the brain. But some simple things — like eating well, maintaining regular exercise, getting good sleep and times of relaxation, all help. He mentioned that most of us are dehydrated — that, in his opinion, many times when we think we’re hungry, it’s actually that we’re thirsty! Interesting tidbits, but all reminders of the frailty of our body and the need to care for it.
- Life can be a little lonely when you’re all on your own. This is a new stage for me. I didn’t realize how much just having someone else in the house — even if you don’t see a lot of them — makes a difference. I wonder how I will adapt to this new stage of life? I wonder what God will teach me? (I think it may not last long, since a very busy school schedule looms right in front of me!) I’ve been raising kids in the home for 35 years; this is a big change for me. I hadn’t realized how much I enjoyed that aspect of my life. (This may be one reason why I love my job at Nevada High School so much.)
Thanks for caring about your old, gray-haired pastor! (I had a conversation yesterday with several people at the Post Office about my gray
hair!) What an interesting and loving church we have! And an important one, as God brings together all the pieces of what He’s doing in the world! We’re one of those pieces!
I look forward to being with you this Sunday and continuing in the book of Genesis with a really interesting story — Genesis 38, the story of Judah’s second family that he had through his daughter-in-law !?! Wow! That’s going to be more interesting than any movie ever made. It’s actually part of the “Joseph” story we started a few weeks ago; Judah’s faithlessness is on display in chapter 38 and is contrasted with Joseph’s faithfulness in chapter 39. What does God do with people who get their lives in a big mess like Judah did? Come Sunday, and let’s find out! 10:00 at the Community Center.
Our Missions Team is meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss ways to increase Crossroads’ vision for missions. Please pray for Erlinda, Heather Hall, and myself.
We have an elders meeting scheduled following the worship service this Sunday. Please be in prayer for our elders, and please let them know of any needs you have.
Don’t forget the new MAMS women’s group starting September 7, 7pm, at Michelle’s house, *contact us for location*. Visit with Michelle if you would like more information.
I’ll be posting my sermon on Facebook this coming weekend in case you can’t make it Sunday morning, or if you know of someone who might like to watch or listen.
“Forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14).
I look forward to seeing you Sunday!