To catch you up, two weeks ago, I wrote about the wild celebration turned huge disappointment in our lives – wanting to have kids for over ten years, being licensed foster parents for over two years and receiving no calls, then the call came, and we thought we were bringing home the son (7-day-old Benjamin) we had dreamed of for so long. Then came another call, and we had to return him, and our hearts were crushed.
In last week’s post, while still healing from the disappointment, I wrote this in my prayer at the very end:
Lord, Thank You for showing me that even in the midst of that first Good Friday, the story was no way near over, and the best was yet to come. Amen.
I hit “publish” on that post, grabbed a snack and headed off to Walmart. Like I have done for the past 23 years of marriage, I filled the cart with goodies that we like, with no need to think about what anyone else likes.
I put our cart-full of stuff on the belt in the checkout line.
Today is day #20 of the long-awaited trip to visit family and friends in Santiago, Chile. I’ve probably put on my waist at least two inches of the world’s best bread and butter so far. Not bad—one inch per ten days!
But that’s not the “transformation” I want to talk about today.
It’s time for a “Back-to-Church” pop quiz! 🙂
What does “BBB” really stand for?
- Better Business Bureau
- Bed, Bath & Beyond
- Body, Brick & Bride
- All of the Above
What metaphors represent followers of Jesus in the Bible?
- Body members
- The Bride
- All of the Above
And the answer to both questions is…
I’m pretty sure I love God with all my heart. I’m quite confident that Jesus is my #1 treasure in life. I enjoy singing. I love playing and listening to music. I hope all my piano and guitar students become worship leaders. I was a worship pastor on staff at a church for years, for goodness’ sake. So how can I be so easily distracted during “worship time” at church then?
We all can become distracted and complacent in our worship, but what if we wholeheartedly arrived at church each week to join the Body of Christ in seeking Him and pouring out our praise on Him? What if we offered Him something that actually cost us something, and did it while helping others in need? What if He listened to us and responded in mind-blowing ways?
I could probably call myself a “sermon junkie.” I watch several sermons a week on YouTube, and I’m blessed to belong to a church where the pastor is a good preacher. But there have still been seasons over the last couple decades where I’ve left the church after a Sunday service feeling like, “Eh…today’s sermon was okay. I’ve pretty much heard it before.”
One of the dangers we face the longer we’ve been in the church is losing the spark we had at first for hearing God’s Word preached so we could go out that very week and apply what we learned. My mission is to do all I can to protect my heart and yours from becoming stagnant or calloused when it comes to hearing and living out the truth of the Gospel.
If you’ve been in the church for quite some time, and have ever wished your pastor would preach better sermons, I invite you to grab a cup of coffee, and watch the video first, and follow it up with the 5 action steps.
Two caveats about the video:
- At the beginning of the video, I’m “acting irreverently” exaggeratedly and on purpose, to help make a point.
- If you’re a new Christian, you’re not the target audience for this post. If you’re a new Christian who is excited to listen to every sermon possible, and to hear and learn God’s Word so you can apply it in your own life, don’t ever stop! (And help the “been there – heard that” older Christians in your church to regain the joy of falling in love with Jesus and of telling others about Him.)
I’ve been a church-going Christian for over three decades. For over two of those decades, I was a pastor on staff at a church – first as a youth pastor, then as a worship pastor, then as a children’s pastor. During those years, I could give you some good reasons why you should choose go to church, but for me and for the other staff pastors, there was really no “choice.” It’s not like we could wake up on Sunday morning and say, “Eh…I really don’t feel like going to church today.”
Now things are different for me. Earlier this year, my baton was passed to an amazing and dynamic new kids pastor, and since then, after decades of having no “choice” of going to church (if I wanted to keep my job), now I get to choose whether or not I’m going to church each Sunday.
And I choose YES!
Back in kindergarten, this naughty boy taunted me on the playground, “Bird Brain! Bird Brain! You’re nothing but a Bird Brain!!”
That mean mockingbird.
I wanted to cry at the time, because even though I hadn’t taken any science classes yet to know the actual size and capability of a bird’s brain compared to that of a human, at age five I was confident that anyone who likes to eat worms couldn’t be that smart.
But these days, I sometimes wish I had more of a bird brain. Listen to me chirp for a moment.
This past Saturday, my mom’s side of the family celebrated the life of the woman I’ve always known as “Grandma Toe”, who passed away at the age of 98 the week before.
There are a handful of thoughts and questions that always come to mind when I’m at a funeral that always make me think, “Wow, I should really think of this every day, and not just at funerals.”
In honor of Grandma, who is probably holding a dog in one hand and a cat in the other while gazing at the beauty of our Savior right at this moment, I’d like to share these six thoughts.
I got this old song stuck in my head this week. I think it was old when I first heard it in 1984.
“I’m so happy and here’s the reason why;
Jesus took my burden all away.
Now, I’m singing as the days go by;
Jesus took my burden all away.
Once my heart was heavy with a load of sin;
Jesus took the load and gave me peace within (my heart and)
Now I’m singing as the days go by;
Jesus took my burdens all away.”
Author: S. W. Gavitt
It made me dig into God’s Word so that my head and heart would be stuck with God’s truth way more than it would be stuck with the melody to the song or to the feelings I had been experiencing.
What do you love the most about God?
What do you love the most about the people in your life?
What do you love the most about your daily circumstances?
Currently, I have the joy of taking a theology class every Wednesday night for 7 weeks at my church. This past Wednesday, after teaching about the attributes and character of God, our pastor asked us to discuss in our groups which attribute we loved the most about God.
Little did he know how much that question would stick with me.
Little did I know how much it would beg to be asked about everyone and everything.
What would happen if we all began to ask the “what do I love most” question about God, the people in our life, and our daily circumstances?