Thank God for the one who made a decision to unite with our congregation today. Glad to have him. Also glad to get a few gifts this week for my birthday. That was great!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Well....another great Lord's Day!
This was not without its challenges; but we had a great day in the Lord. It has been refreshing (as I've probably said before) to witness some of the things I have envisioned for our congregation come to fruition. For the laymen's understanding, the experience is akin to witnessing your child become responsible and make wise decisions without your stern direction at every turn. It is God's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
My experience has been quite challenging yet quite rewarding. Pastoring is hard work! Yes, it comes natural when you're called to do it. But it is hard work! Those who've said it is not hard work, I will not say they are doing something wrong; but will simply argue they are in the minority. Most would contend.....pastoring is hard work! However, it is the most rewarding experience in the world. Going from a congregation I started to a congregation over a century and a quarter old is about as contrastingly distinctive as it comes. But it has been good for me. I'm learning a lot, about patience, vision, preaching, inclusion (nothing to do with Carlton Pearson!), balance, Pastoring everyone, and so much more.
I am really excited about the meeting we had today with those involved in Worship service. We have been looking on ways to improve our worship experience, and also to flow better in our services. I envision planning our services, as do some congregations now. Shout out to Derrick Garrett. This guy, who is also one of our Deacons in Training, has been a Godsend. Joining our church about a year ago, he come from a congregation who worked monthly in planning their services. Glad to have him as our Director of Worship & Fine Arts.
This past Lord's Day, I also announced our congregation's very first Media Director, Erikka Murphy. This is a major milestone in our congregation; and it is necessary if we plan to do effective ministry in the 21st century. Erikka, one of our recent college graduates, will help us bring interactive media to our services, including mid-week; and also assist us in the process of the audio and visual recordings of our weekly Sunday services. Please pray for us. This is a huge step; and a necessary challenge for a 141 year old congregation.
I continued our series through 1st Peter. Here is my outline...
This Joy That I Have
1 Peter 1:6-9
Big Idea: Believers rejoice in the midst of suffering
I. There is a Joy that comes through Faith (Verses 6-8)
a. The Ground of Faith
b. The Growth of Faith
1. Tests and trials are temporary 'for a little while'
2. Tests and trials are tailored 'if necessary'
c. The Goal of Faith
1. God wants our faith to grow in value—“greater than gold.” Verse 7
2. God desire our faith to grow in validity—“proved genuine.” Verse 7
II. THERE IS A JOY THAT COMES THROUGH HOPE (Verses 7b & 9)
a. The Hope of Comparison
b. The Hope of Completion
1. We have certainty of Christ’s return.
a.“Praise”—Christ will say “well-done.”
b.“Honor”—Christ will give us honorable positions of authority.
c.“Glory”—Christ will give us glorious bodies and place us in glorious offices.
2. We have the assurance of salvation’s results, verse 9
III. THERE IS A JOY THAT COMES THROUGH LOVE (Verse 8)
a. There is the Joy of Loving
b. There is the Joy of Being Loved
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
This past Lord's Day was awesome, outstanding and phenomenal! Let me tell it, our times as Pastor and people grow each week. Mind you, I am not a Pastor who says every Sunday was, 'Bananas'. But I will say that this past Sunday was exceptional. God has given me a vision of a church that is able to worship multi-generationally. That is to say, being a congregation who meets equally the needs of four generations. In fact, I plan to begin teaching on 'One Church, Four Generations' in a few weeks. This is quite a challenge for a 141-Year old congregation. Naturally, we have quite a bit of history; and can unknowingly be adamant about remaining the way we've been for so long. I saw this 'growing pain' very clearly during our mid-year church meeting. Often as Pastor, I can be challenged (sometimes by God and, at times, by the enemy using the reality of it all) to assess I am not nearly as far along as I thought we were. Our recent meeting was no exception. We've made quite a bit of progress; but I walked away a little discouraged, when hearing the way it once was, etc. But....I maintain we are on the right track. The church is continuing to grow numerically, financially and spiritually.
This past Sunday, after an exciting youth trip, we added back our Deacon's devotion. We stopped for a short while, when our Praise Team (A.L. Randon Ensemble) was added. I made the decision before our meeting for us to add back Deacon's devotion, believing it would serve 1) to continue to uphold that deep tradition and 2) to expand the vision to minister to our 4 generations. It went great!
I am most excited about the growth and excitement of our young people. They have been quite receptive to our ministry there. I continued our study in First Peter.
Here's my sermon outline...
Sermon Title: Thank God I’m Saved
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3-5
The Big Idea: The temporary challenges of life can be endured in light of the eternal salvation of God.
I. IN THE MIDST OF LIFE’S DILEMMAS, WE CAN THANK GOD FOR THE AUTHOR OF OUR SALVATION
a. God’s rejection of Sin (Context)
b. God’s connection to the Savior (v. 3a)
c. God’s action toward the Saved (v. 3b)
i. Mercy (Loving-kindness)
ii. New Birth (Regeneration)
II. IN THE MIDST OF LIFE’S DILEMMAS, WE CAN THANK GOD FOR THE NATURE OF OUR SALVATION
a. We have a ‘Living Hope’
b. We have a ‘Glorious Inheritance’
i. Our inheritance is incorruptible – ‘…that can never perish'
ii. Our inheritance is undefiled – ‘…nor spoil’
iii. Our inheritance is unfading – ‘…or fade’
III. IN THE MIDST OF LIFE’S DILEMMAS, WE CAN THANK GOD FOR THE SECURITY OF OUR SALVATION (vv. 4b-5)
a. Our inheritance is protected “…kept in heaven for you.”
b. We are preserved “…guarded.”
i. We are guarded by God’s power
ii. We are guarded through our faith
iii. We are guarded until Jesus returns
Thankful for the response to the message; and those who made decisions and came forward. Looking forward to continuing First Peter next week, if the Lord says the same.!