Five headed under today.
The stories of their lives were all unique. Those who encouraged them to head under said much the same things but with different emphases.
The main thread? God has called you to this next step – enjoy and live what God calls you to.
The baptisms were great! Hopefully more to follow.
For me, the excitement is building. Today I visited with three families who will join us for the baptisms. One is a good friend of one of the candidates. Another is just new to the church and “dunking” is an exciting thing. The other family has known the candidates for years. What a cross-section of those who will be here.
And that’s what excites me. There will be family, and friends and new acquaintances and even people we probably don’t even know. All to hear five people talk about their center in their lives – Jesus. In a world that is more often than not focused on themselves, this focus on Jesus is both unusual and yet uniquely outstanding.
Come if you can – 11:00 tomorrow morning!
Edna had all the wrong cards in life. I did not hear much of her younger days other than that they were abusive, her marriage less than ideal. Her husband died of cancer, her daughter committed suicide and her son is in jail. She did not endear herself to others and lived a lonely life.
I crossed her path when her son began to come to church. Unfortunately his addictive nature and habits overtook his searching. In the midst of this I met his mother.
She never attended church. She had lived enough of life to be suspicious of others. She tended to reject a God of love.
These last few weeks, as she lay in hospital dying of cancer, I talked to her of heaven. Not a lot. At first she scoffed.
I’d like to say that she came to see Jesus as the doorway to heaven. I’m not sure. Perhaps I was not as direct in speaking to her as I would have liked. Perhaps I thought she had more time. Perhaps I cannot change a person’s mind.
Only God can.
Only God can touch the deepest, inmost parts of a person. The closest I come to that person’s inner sanctuary is by prayer to God on their behalf. And so for these last few days I have been praying.
For Edna, that she would come to Jesus, the doorway to God and to eternal life.
Edna died yesterday. Her time for decision is past – those prayers are finished.
But a new prayer has been birthing in my own heart. God is giving to me a greater desire to tell others about Jesus. God is calling me to have more God-chats with others. God is pointing out to me that, while I cultivate a relationship with others, I need to be simple, direct and understandable as I talk to them of God and Jesus and life.
From Edna’s death I sense a Spring of new life emerging!
What an enjoyable 24 hours! Just outside Outlook is a home that housed seven senior pastors.
We slept, laughed, prayed, learned, interacted, ate and were refreshed. In the end the networking enhanced our ministry. And as we work together there is an opportunity to pray for each other, to support each other and to just be to each other Christ’s ambassadors.
I suppose our monitors for computers are getting fairly sophisticated. In past years the real problem was that any image remaining for an extended period would “burn” the image on the monitor. So the screensaver was the salvation of those early monitors – at least, that was the intent. The original screensaver was a blank screen!
Not to be outdone, pictures and animation was added as screens became able to withstand the “burn” time. Audio was added. Of course, one of the other intents of the early screen saver (privacy from those who just “popped into your office”), was now complemented by a full video presentation which distracted your visitors.
Today I was viewing a screensaver on my wife’s computer that takes the pictures you select and continuously plays them across the screen. I’ve glanced over once in a while and just enjoyed myself. Of particular interest was a recent picture which was of my mother, myself, my daughter and her daughter. There is a legacy there which I appreciate.
Now, you are just going to have to imagine that. Since you are reading this, your screensaver hasn’t kicked in yet!
I see “providence” as coming upon a fresh stream in the midst of a forest when you least expect it. The water flows cool and clear, the vegetation is sparkling green and the sunlight is unexpected. When you arrive you are surprised. You drink of the stream and you are refreshed.
Nothing you did prepared your for this refreshment.
Yesterday I was wondering about a talk I would give to our youth group. I’d been asked to give a devotional a few days previous. My schedule was such that I had no squeeze time. And yet, in my regular routine God squeezed in a chapter from a book I was reading. Exactly the content that would suit where our youth group has been venturing.
Then, during the day I was involved in a community committee. One of those efforts that are helpful but can be an expense of time for which the debit on your resources sometimes outweighs the credit to your purposes. The meetings went well. In fact, as a committee we congratulated ourselves on our accomplishment for the day.
But the greatest providence was on the way home – a drive with a portion of the committee to return to our hometown. In the car the conversation soon turned to God. Now, remember, this is a “non-church” group. We ranged from a discussion on the devotional for the youth to faith, belief, church, friends, backgrounds, God . . . In an hour’s time I had been refreshed!
Not expecting the opening in the forest, I just sat back and enjoyed! Sometimes I wonder if God puts experiences in our way just to make our jaws drop and our senses tingle. And then, we head back into the forest – intent on the path in front of us, and waiting to see what lies around the corner!
I was at the church shortly after sunrise (OK, maybe an hour or two later). The 6:30 hour seemed like a good idea at the time. Around 9:00 I was not so sure. I was yawning and finding my reflexes a little slow. By noon I was glad to come home and to get a quick nap before the afternoon’s activities.
Now, I’m asking myself the question – “If the saying is ‘early to bed, early to rise’, does the reverse apply – ‘early to rise, early to bed’?” I have this feeling the yawns that are appearing now will make this true!!
What a great question!
Today I attended two meetings. One is an ongoing meeting for encouragement and mutual activity. The other is to forward a great idea in our community.
Both had their high points, with laughter and a sense of direction. After I was finished them (they were back to back), I was tired but encouraged. I actually think that we are moving ahead in what we want to do. One is to encourage “fellowship”, the other is to encourage “networking.”
Now, meetings can move forward in a grinding fashion. With no laughter – no camaraderie – no knitting together. Another can form a bond that will continue into other projects. There will be laughter, an enjoyment in being together and a bonding.
That is what I call a forward looking meeting.
What we accomplish today will be helpful. How we prepare for the future is just as important. If our community is to change, there must be bonds formed that will carry us forward to the next civic improvement.
I take seriously the idea that we want to ask “How can I help?” One way to help is to form friendships that can forward the best for a community. And in the midst of all this, may God and His name be forwarded in such a way that we truly begin to hear echoes of the idea – “May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
OK, so I’m into alliteration!
As the day began my friend, Cal Ross, was wondering if her could head home to Calgary. The snow was beginning here at Kindersley and we soon found that the snow was coming from Calgary.
Instead of leaving for the blizzard, Cal decided to stay.
We ate an oatmeal breakfast, a chicken orzo soup for lunch and pulled beef for supper. We had the new Anglican priest and his wife over for afternoon coffee, friends for supper and a hospital visit in later afternoon.
What fun! Meanwhile the snow also fell here and the greens are green and the colors vibrant. What a great day for a time that was cloudy and overcast!
I’m training myself to think a bit differently.
Usually my waking thought has been – “What does today hold?” That has meant I’ve thought through what I will be doing, how it will get done and under what schedule.
I’ve been convicted that sometimes I see the people in my life as a just a part of the puzzle of my life. Fit them in to make me comfortable, use them to get things done, figure them out so they do the “right thing” for me.
I know that sounds callous, and I certainly don’t want that to be true. Which is why I’m trying a awaken now asking the question, “Who does today hold?” And the beginning of the day is more prayer than planning. More asking God how He sees others. More people than programs.
As an administrator in a previous career, this is a push. But one I know needs to happen. After all, as the saying goes – “we are human beings, not human doings.”