Saturday, June 26, 2010

Whirlwind trip to Columbus, OH

I've been off the radar screen the past 3 days in terms of emails, blogging, Facebook, and anything else in the world of computers. After finishing up the Wednesday evening Bible study, I headed out to St. Louis with my third son, Josh, who has enrolled in law school this fall at Ohio State Univ. in Columbus. We drove to St. Louis that evening, getting in shortly after 12:30. We stayed at the home of one of his college buddies and headed out early Thursday morning for Columbus.

We met with the financial aid officer of the law school on Thursday afternoon and received lots of helpful information. The rest of the evening and a good part of Friday was spent assembling furniture (dining room table and chairs, as well as a study desk) and helping him get settled a bit in an apartment.

We traveled back today, covering the distance in about 10.5 hours. Managed to listen to a bit of the U.S. soccer team's match against Ghana which ended the U.S.'s participation in the World Cup. Tomorrow we'll be cheering for Argentina against Mexico. That's a bit tough of course since we've lived in both countries, but we lived for close to 14 years in Argentina vs. 9 months in Mexico, so that tips the scales towards Argentina for sure.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's services as the youth choir and mission trip team will be sharing their program and testimonies of their experiences this week among the Lakota Indians on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. This is the second summer that our youth have gone there to work among these Native Americans.

Next week will be spent finalizing details for my next trip the following week (July 5-9) to Guatemala for the 8th round of leadership training conferences that the BGCM has sponsored there. Our pastor and I will be sharing the teaching responsibilities this time and I'm excited that he will get to experience firsthand the wonderful fellowship and hunger for the Word and training that the participants always demonstrate.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Incredibly Sad Tragedy

I stumbled across a link to an article on the Baptists Today website that was sad and tragic beyond words.

It seems that a dispute surfaced in the home of a South African family this past Sunday over what would be watched on television. The father, David Makoeya (age 61), wanted to watch the soccer match between Germany and Australia in the World Cup, while his wife and two adult children wanted to watch religious programming featuring gospel music. When the father tried to assert his authority by changing the channel by hand on the TV set after being refused the remote control, the family responded violently, banging his head against the wall. The family did phone the police, but only after the father was badly injured. When the police arrived, he was already dead. Initial court proceedings also revealed that he had been stabbed in the back.

What can anyone say in response to this senseless tragedy? That such violence could be generated over the choice of television programming is itself ridiculous, but to compound matters even worse, the violence was perpetrated by those who insisted on watching religious programming and listening to gospel music.

Clearly there was a tragic and complete disconnect between the supposed profession of a Christian faith by the family members wishing to listen to gospel music and their actual conduct. The scandal of hypocrisy casts a long dark shadow over this entire incident. When religious zeal (if you can call it that) runs amok and totally disregards the most basic Christian ethical principles imaginable, such unspeakable tragedies can and do materialize.

It's high time that Christians examine their lives for evidence of the fruit of God's Spirit at work in them, rather than merely relying upon some supposed conversion experience or their affiliation with a religious group. I can only grieve the loss of this father's life at the hands of his own family and speculate as to how this senseless tragedy may well fuel the arguments of skeptics as to the truth of the Christian faith.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Link to Sermon on Esther

Our A-V guys have gotten around to uploading the sermon files for the past couple of weeks, including a sermon I preached back on June 13th on Esther. I basically related the story of her life in dramatic fashion, drawing 4 truths from her courageous example and the dialogue she has with her cousin Mordecai. If you have the time to listen to it, here's the link.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Word & Way article on Katy Trail Mission Trip

We had a bunch of our members who did a 4-day, 225 mile bicycle ride on the Katy Trail from Clinton to St. Charles, Missouri recently to raise money for Smile Train, an organization that helps fund cleft palate and cleft lip surgeries in 3rd world countries. Vicki Brown of Word & Way caught up with them along the way and wrote a great article about their efforts.

The group shared their report last Sunday night along with the youth who had just returned from their summer camp experience at Falls Creek, OK.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Update from the last week

I've been too busy of late to find time to post anything to my blog, so I thought I'd take a few minutes tonight and give a brief recap. On the heels of a very successful initial First Serve project the previous weekend, this past week was filled with pastoral ministry responsibilities. I officiated or helped officiate in 3 different funerals in just five days. Then on Friday it was off to Jefferson City for the quarterly meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. We had a very productive time together. Yesterday I had the opportunity of preaching in both of our morning services as our pastor was vacationing with his extended family in Colorado. I chose to relate the story of Esther as a drama and then focused on 4 principal truths from Mordecai's dialogue with her in chapter 4:13-17.

My main points were these:
1. You cannot always run away from trouble - v. 13
2. Silence is not always golden - v. 14
3. God always raises up a deliverer - v. 14
4. Great blessings carry great responsibilities - v. 14

I'll try and add a link later to the audio file when it gets uploaded in case anyone would like to hear the message.

Tonight I participated with about 20 of our folks in distributing some of the extra publicity cards highlighting some of our summer activities and ministries that were left over from the Downtown Days event. We met at 6:00 at the church for pizza and then split up into 10 teams. We had an odd number so I wound up taking one section by myself and stuck 100 of the cards in the doors of homes. It took about an hour and a half. The walking wasn't bad at all--though it was a bit humid still. The tough part was that almost every home was either a split level or a raised ranch and most of them had anywhere from 5 or 6 to 10 or 12 steps up to the front door. Multiply that number of steps times 100 houses and I got in a pretty good workout. My left knee let me know that it hadn't been exercised that strenuously in awhile.

It was a good evening and I'm relaxing a bit, reading some blogs before getting ready for bed. I have a meeting tomorrow with a couple of guys that I meet regularly with every other Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. We've been discussing Phillip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Initial First Serve Project now History

This past weekend our church launched its initial First Serve project. These are designed to be a series of events (one per month) that will give our congregation the opportunity to serve and engage the community of Lee's Summit, Missouri with the love of Christ. We chose to participate in the Downtown Days Festival in Lee's Summit that featured several hundred booths with vendors, politicians, non-profits, and other groups offering their products and services, as well as lots of live entertainment and carnival-style rides.

We offered free parking in our church's parking lot and distributed free water to those who parked there. In the downtown booth space which we rented, we distributed free water, popcorn, Flavor-Ice popsicles, and brochures announcing our summer activities. We even had one member who is a licensed massage therapist take her portable massage chair downtown and offered free massages to those passing by.

We had dozens of our members involved in the project and made many significant contacts with families who had recently moved to the area, some of whom mentioned that they are looking for a new church home. In other cases, folks were simply shocked that we were offering free water and popsicles without requiring anything of them in return. We learned a great deal from this initial First Serve project and are excited about future opportunities we're currently planning.