Saturday, December 29, 2007

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

We've had both eventful and lame New Years in the past. I remember 12/31/1999; kinda lame, not because of where we were (or who we were with, my apologies to the Thompsons and the Webbs), but because my Y2K survival kit went unused.

Then there was 12/31/2005. Living in the Central time zone is generally lame; the ball drops here at 11:00 pm. But that night as the ball dropped, my wife's contractions were getting closer and closer together. Two and a half hours later Anna entered the world as the first baby born in Johnson County, Iowa in 2006.

I don't know what to expect on Monday. We're not going anywhere that I know of. Just another night with Dick Clark rockin' in the new year. What is both incredible and frightening at the same time is what God holds for us in 2008. With Christ's return still up in the air (pardon the pun), there may not even be a 2008. Then again, someone someday will be thinking the same thing on 12/31/3007.

I won't be happy if everything is the same for us 365 days from now (or is it 366, isn't this a leap year?) I need to be shaken up a little bit this year. Lord willing not the Job kind of shaken up, but maybe something like the Peter kind...maybe?

Anyone else?

Friday, December 28, 2007

A place to dump my unused thoughts

I suppose I created this thing to share what's on my mind with anyone willing to read it. I've been reading enough blogs over the last few months to know that its really hit or miss when it comes to various entries. Some things people write are down right pointless. Other things tend to be quite thought provoking. God only knows what my entries will amount to.

I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the same way with my preaching. For a while I never imagined that I would ever be standing behind a pulpit one day. Now for the past 2 1/2 years I've had the opportunity to deliver a message almost every Sunday (yes, even pastors go on vacation once in a while.) There have been countless Saturday nights when I've been scared to death about what might leave my mouth the next morning that would be passed off as a sermon. The strange thing is that no matter how I feel before a sermon, most of the time I feel pretty good after a sermon. I'm usually exhausted by mid-Sunday afternoon, but I'm often at peace at what I've said. That's because I've learned to trust the Holy Spirit. I can never tell how the Spirit will communicate with another person's spirit in cooperation with the message I've given. Its weird that the points I intend people to walk away with may not come up again, but something I don't remember emphasizing does.

Preaching (and pastoring) is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Right now I can't imagine doing anything else. Some times I can't believe that I'm getting paid to do what I love to do anyway, that is to read and study God's Word daily and to share the Scriptures with others who need to hear it too.

If anyone out there in blog land ends up reading this, I suppose I would want to encourage you to let your pastor know what spoke to you from his latest sermon (that's assuming you have one; maybe a topic for another entry.) Not that he (I) needs his ego rubbed, but its always nice to know that what you've spent the week preparing for others to chew on was actually digestible.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Title Track

I've always wondered how a band chooses a title for their album. Sometimes its a lyric hidden within one of their songs. Other times there is a title track. For example, The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. My all time favorite title track would have to be the song "Bad Company" off of the album Bad Company by the band Bad Company. Now that's creative genius!

Even though I now live in rural America, I really don't know anything about sheep. Apparently the biblical authors did. I looked up to see how many references there are to sheep in the Bible and I was surprised. 204 to be exact. They're in almost every OT book and in every NT gospel plus a few other NT places. Here are a few references that stand out to me:

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6, ESV)

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27, ESV)

"For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1 Peter 2:25, ESV)

As a preacher I'm tempted to comment on these verses...but I won't. Let the Word of God speak to you itself. I suppose you will get my thoughts on truths like these and other less life changing concepts. For now consider this my title track. Sit back and listen.

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