And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

BUMPER STICKER SEEN IN SAN ANTONIO

Pro Wife
(I don't have a choice)

GETTING FOCUSED

This past Sunday we (meaning the staff and shepherds) announced that in an effort to address the five biblical areas of the church's mission, we would be realigning and restructuring our staff as well as hiring two additional ministers to become part of our ministry team. All of this is our attempt to be much more focused in our ministries with the hopeful product being greater effectiveness and excellence in our ministries.

The five areas are: Worship, Ministry, Fellowship, Evangelism and Discipleship. These can be found in the biblical texts we call The Great Commandment and the The Great Commission.

I will continue to preach and teach as well as work with our worship (and with our worship leader, Ben). I will add to my list of responsibilities the area of evangelism and outreach.

Richard will transition slowly from youth and family to what we are calling the "Congregational Life Minister." His responsibilities will be to help our church administer better our ministies, communication needs, technology and ministry development.

Douglas will continue to work with our adults in various ways but now with the official title of Minister of Adult Discipleship. His duties will continue to be to oversee adult education and involvement but the emphasis will be to make disciples of our adults.

Tamra, our newest staff member (one year anniversary coming up!)will serve as Director of Children's ministries.

With the addition of two new staff members, we will once again have six full time ministers on board.

Our congregation has been challenged to pray three times a day during the entire month of May as we begin the search process. This is to also include fasting for those who choose to do so.

May God grant us His favor.

It is amazing to me the things you miss in life unless you happen to be looking with the right kind of eyes and notice them. For example, I was stopped at a crosswalk at a local elementary school just as school let out. And while I was sitting there in my car I noticed that the woman who was serving as the crossing guard was very popular with all the kids. As they walked by her they would reach out and touch her on the arm to say, "hello." A couple of children as they walked by held up their school pictures and you could tell from the smile on the crossing guard’s face that she was communicating to these small ones that she thought they were just terrific. And I thought to myself as I sat in the traffic that here is a woman who is not only making sure these children get across the street safely but at the same time letting them know that they mattered. She’s at the crosswalk for awhile in the morning and awhile in the afternoon and all the while making a difference. And then there was the young man—probably a college student—walking up to the entrance of the local HEB who on his way grabbed a shopping cart someone had left in the middle of a parking spot and pushed it up to the front of the store and left it with the rows of other carts while he went into the store. Again I thought to myself, here is such a small thing…moving a cart out of a parking spot, getting it out of the way so that it doesn’t chip the paint on someone’s car…it’s small but it made a huge difference in someone's day. And have you noticed how polite people can be coming and going from the local starbucks…smiling and holding open the door for you. An instant of politness. Little acts of kindness. A brief encounter with courteousness. A brush with charity. When Jesus talks of going the extra mile, he not only means those moments that call for great sacrifice but also every degree in between that brings goodness, decency and rightness into everyday life.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Here is a John Updike poem about the Resurrection entitled Seven Stanzas

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.