Marriage has so much potential yet most marriages also experience a good deal of pain on the way to forging a better way. What are some typical causes of this pain? What can be done to bring healing and find lasting satisfaction and love? I just finished planning the series for Sunday messages in July. When I was at family Camp earlier this week, I felt led to focus on human relationships especially marriages during this month. Since marriage is something we don’t do alone, we need the input of our spouse to get a well-rounded perspective. I have invited my wife to join me on the platform for this series for Kitchen Table Talks about Relationships. Like most couples, we’ve had our up’s and down’s in 42 years of marriage. Our hope is that we have learned some perspectives that can be helpful to others. I invite you to join us for this series.
At Community Wesleyan Church we have a simple six word motto and mission statement: Love God, Love others, Make disciples. Each of the three elements is taken directly from Jesus’ instructions to us. The first two are taken from the two commandments that Jesus identified as the greatest of all the Old Testament commandments. He also declared that these two summarized all the others. The third part of our motto is word for word from Jesus’ great commission to his church found in Matthew 28:19. During the month of June we will be seeking to understand this part of our motto and mission better. Our message series is titled: Our Mission — Make Disciples.
It is hard to believe that the time has arrived for Community Wesleyan Church’s 50th Anniversary Celebration to begin. It seems we have been thinking about it for a long time since we started planning and working toward this time about 30 months ago. We have accomplished much leading up to it too. We have worked hard together to complete 50 outreach and service ministries. During the celebration we will hear the report of our progress in reaching this goal. We have also worked shoulder to shoulder and sacrificed financially to achieve the 50th Anniversary Makeover goals that we set to help prepare our church for the future. Our plan was to make a generational difference by preparing our facility for God to use over the next two decades, if Jesus tarries. The results of the first two stages – the kitchen makeover and the sanctuary makeover – will be on display. In addition, folks can see the JAM’N Kids area and the new relaxed-look library both of which also caught the makeover fever. We are praising God that all of these projects have been completely paid for. The third stage – replacing the sanctuary floodlights with modern fixtures – is nearly funded as of the last LBA meeting. With much of the work behind us, now it is time to focus on the celebration. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for that, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. The events of the next three weeks are about celebrating God’s faithfulness over the past 50 years and looking forward in faith to the future. Here’s a complete chart of what’s happening.
Yesterday I was having a conversation with someone about our two service system. I was prompted to write up the thoughts that have come to mind as a result of that conversation and publish them. I think they will be helpful to many people in our church and in other churches.
This mild winter is passing quickly. A week from today is Ash Wednesday. This coming Sunday begins our 50 day emphasis leading up to Easter. This year, Pastor Eric and I have chosen to focus on the life of our Lord using passages from the Gospel of John. Each week we will show a DVD interpretation with words taken directly from the Good News Bible translation of the American Bible Society, an excellent contemporary translation. It’s hard to believe that it has been 5 years already since the last such series from John. Each time we cover it I find new insights to emphasize.
As we begin the New Year, most of us are making plans of some sort. Some of us (like me) are making plans to lose weight (again); others are making plans for major changes in their lives, a marriage, a move, or a job change. But as the New Year begins, it is also important for us to think about the spiritual plans that we should be making for the New Year, plans that can help us to grow and advance in our Christian lives.
That is the purpose of our new series of sermons that began last Sunday. Each week we will take up a new topic that represents a key area of our spiritual life. In some areas we will find the message simply affirming habits that we already have in place. In other areas, we will find ourselves deeply challenged to strengthen our walk with God, our witness, and our service.
I invite you to join us for this insightful and inspiring series. It will carry into February and be followed by our 50 Day Lenten Emphasis which will start February 19.
Spiritual Plans for a New Year
Preventing a Famine of Hearing God’s Word
Partners In the Gospel
God’s Plan for Financial Stewardship
Gen. 14:17-20; Lev. 27:30-32; Mal. 3:6-12; Matt. 23:23,24
For some time, many denominations with beliefs similar to the Wesleyan Church have been working together to forge ties that allow for greater cooperation. I have been very excited about the potential of these discussions. Today I learned through this news release that they have taken a major step forward. I am very excited to report this increased unity among people of like precious faith. It is a tangible way for us to fulfill Jesus prayer that his church would become one (John 17:21). I believe that this step forward will help all of these denominations to grow stronger. http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=00c1511d30181354bb3f64685&id=00384d244b&e=7327beb1e4
The other day Steven and I were talking about the actual birthday of Community Wesleyan Church. We knew it was Easter 1962 but we did not know the date. So I reached for my copy of the Book of Common Prayer which has an Easter date table in it and looked up the Easter date for that year. My eyes widened, I’m sure, and I let out a shout of surprise as I discovered the answer. Easter in 1962 fell on April 22 which is the exact date we have chosen for our 50th Anniversary celebration in 2012. We did not realize that correlation when we chose it. Rather we just picked a Sunday a couple weeks after this coming Easter so that the celebration would not get lost in or detract from Easter and so previous attenders now attending other churches could be here without missing Easter service at their current churches. But now it is discovered that we will be celebrating God’s faithfulness 50 years later to the day. What an added blessing!
Every year as we approach the Christmas season, we automatically focus on Bible passages in Luke chapter 2:1-20 and Matthew chapter 2:1-12 where the Christmas story is found. As I was thinking about the Advent/Christmas messages for this year I thought about the fact that the gospel of John also introduces the story of Jesus in its own rich way. It would be different, and enlightening to explore John 1:1-18 during the Christmas season and allow its deep theological themes to weave in and out of the Christmas narratives in our minds and holiday celebrations. So, after prayer and study, that is how I’ve designed the Advent/Christmas series for this year.
I received my 100th comment on my blog today. It was a TrackBack. I left it up because of its significance. It was from an advertisement site, but the interesting part was that the site was in German. That is quite significant. My count statistics plug-in tells me that the number of visitors to my blog from Germany is equal to about one third of the number of visitors from the United States. Visitor count from the third-highest country, the Ukraine, falls off quickly to one third of that from Germany. The third-highest number of reads comes from Hong Kong. I am amazed to discover that the total reads outside the United States is approximately equal to the number of reads in the United States. So my 100th comment reminds me that I blog in a very international setting.
100th comment a precisely targeted ad
Secondly, the advertisement is for a Kindle reader and it is attached to the article I wrote about whether physical libraries are already becoming obsolete. Much of the spam I delete from my blog is attached almost randomly to any article that the spammer thinks may attract attention. But this trackback ad was different. It was targeted very specifically to the relevant article on the topic addressing the exact issue that fitted the item being sold. This shows the true power of targeted Internet connectivity. I predict more advertising money diverted from the scatter-guns of mass mail and broadcast media to the focused targeting potential of the Internet.