What do secret codes and POW’s have to do with worship? One word: communication. Worship represents one of our best opportunities to communicate with God. Without it, the spiritual part of our being will begin to draw inward, deteriorate and die. More than just a hymn, a sermon and a prayer, worship is the camp code that becomes our lifeline and can at times be our only link with sanity.
So, I grabbed a snow shovel and started digging and digging and digging some more until I was standing over the shovel, panting, out of breath.
Did I mention there were eighteen inches of snow?
I finally managed to clear a small path and took a break. A few minutes later, I tried again, made more progress and took another break. At this rate, I would be shoveling snow until July.
Then, there was a knock on my door.
While on deck, holding desperately to anything solid, John noticed several families near the stern serenely singing hymns. He couldn’t believe it! How could they conduct worship and sing in the midst of such a terrible storm? Why weren’t they more frightened? John marveled at their faith and vowed to learn more.
Over the past few weeks, I challenged our congregation to take $10 and either multiply it and donate it to our Potter’s House mission for the homeless or use it to help someone else in a creative way. Here are two interesting responses to provide encouragement and a touch of creativity as we start a new year.
For me, Christmas used to start with lights – lots of lights. What can I say? I grew up in Virginia Beach, home of the “Tacky Light” tour. At the beach we like to say: “Brighter lights on the outside mean brighter, happier families inside.” If true – our family has been deliriously happy!
One person not often seen in any nativity scene is the innkeeper. Often, he is portrayed as the bad guy who makes Mary and Joseph sleep out in a cave with animals. But I believe there is another side to that story. If the innkeeper were here, I wonder what he would say?
These priests left their comfortable homes and traveled for weeks to a strange land, bearing expensive gifts. Upon seeing Jesus, they knelt before him filled with joy. Zoroastrian Priests get it when Jewish religious leaders looking for their Messiah never recognized God’s sign.
But these were not normal times for me. My life came crashing down much like the Berlin Wall. 1989 would be my first Christmas as a divorced single parent with two young children. My credibility and confidence as pastor of a local church was understandably compromised. Didn’t the Bible say: “If someone cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Tim. 3:5)
Money has a dark side and a light side. The dark side involves greed and poor management which leads to excessive debt or extensive hoarding. The money we possess can bring out our worst traits. Churches are not immune. Sometimes the biggest arguments and disagreements come when churches are deciding how to spend a surplus or large gifts.