Saturday, March 28, 2009

Surprises!

All the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken; I will accomplish it. Ezekiel 17:24

For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

This is a picture of a redbud tree in bloom in my neighbors backyard. Spring was going along nicely for this tree, it was time for it to bloom out and it showed it's beautiful color grandly. But then what happened? Through no fault of its own, it snowed!

Snow! What is the redbud to do now? The tender buds shiver in the in the snow blown wind. Isaiah tells us that the trees of the field shall clap their hands. This redbud's 'hands' are shivering, not clapping. But Ezekiel tells us that the Lord is the Lord of the trees as well. What this redbud knows, as it has been here for a long time, is that these little hiccups like snow in the spring, is not too much for the Lord to handle.

There are times in our lives that something unexpected comes along. It may even seem to be almost devastating. We may wonder if God has forgotten us. We may wonder if we will make it through, but there is a lesson to be learned from the trees of the field. The snows will melt, the spring will return, and life will continue. The snow will melt into the ground to bring moisture to the roots of the tree. The sun will shine again, and even though there was the unexpected, the tree knows that the seasons will continue. They always have before.

How often we do not feel that life will ever be normal again after some catastrophic incident. It feels as if the cold snows of our lives will never melt, much less bring any benefit. We think that the catastrophe is lasting and devastating. If we only remember that we have faced snowstorms before, and we have come through. Have faith that the seasons will continue through our life and we must wait upon the Lord.

With the uncertainty of the current economic conditions, war and all that goes with it, we need to remember that the snows will one day melt. There is much to be learned if we wait upon the Lord.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So much information, so little brain function

I am seriously hoping there is something to that osmosis learning stuff. That means that all of this wonderful information, ideas, etc., that I am learning, will still stick around even though my brain seems to turn off while the seminars and workshops continue on...

I am at the Leadership Nexus Conference in Arlington, TX. I have had the opportunity to glean information on church leadership, leading church growth, the emerging church, worship, five practices, etc. There is none of it that I consider frivolous or non-important, but I am assuming that my attention span was never developed to be able to handle 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. straight!

That being my biggest complaint, everything is going well. I am hoping to be able to assimilate this wonderful information into something that will benefit me as a leader, my congregation, and my community.

I really enjoyed Bishop Schnase's presentation this evening. We are currently working through the study of the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations in my congregation through Lent. I took copious notes on the Bishop's presentation. I am convinced that this is pure genius. You know genius - an idea so simple, no one has thought of it before. By the way, I said that to Bishop Schnase, and I am a little embarrassed by it. I am normally a much more subtle schmoozer. I guess the exhaustion is taking it's toll.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Sermon March 22, 2009, based on the Scripture text Matthew 25:31-46. Fourth in the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations Series on Risk-Taking Mission and Service.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The New You

Sermon March 15, 2009, based on the Scripture reading from Ephesians 4:21-24. This is the Intentional Faith Development Sunday sermon from the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

God's Glory is Transforming

Sermon March 8, 2009, based the text Isaiah 6:1-8. Also, at the beginning, we have Raylene Hendrix performing How Can I Keep From Singing.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Neighbors and Strangers

Sermon - March 1, 2009, Neighbors and Strangers, based on the Scripture readings Romans 12:9-21, 15:7. The first of a series "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations," based on the book by Bishop Robert Schnase.