This edition of musings is a bit different. Since I didn’t preach yesterday, I thought I’d just shoot some random thoughts your direction. I hope this is fun for you. It’s been helpful to me to get a few thoughts off my mind.
Where were you guys?
This past weekend (Wednesday-Sunday) our elders and wives were gone to Brookings for our annual Elder/Wives planning retreat. Just in case that you thought we all decided to take a vacation, at the same time, just know that we were on a working retreat. As one of our elder’s wives jokingly said, “our pastor works us to death over the weekend”. It’s really nothing like a vacation. We are in meetings from around 9:00 – 5:30 and lots of discussion on many of the breaks.
While much of the details that we worked on will be coming out in the next month or so, here are some highlights that I think will give you some insight into what the Lord is doing:
• One reason for this retreat is to “maintain unity” among our elders and wives. Being away, in the same house, for uninterrupted time, allows us to care for each other, pray for each other, work through any disagreements, and to simply remind each other of our love for Jesus, His church, and one another. I can say that this was a highlight of this particular retreat.
• We spent time Sunday morning reading through and discussing Acts 20:17-38. This was Paul’s final words to the Ephesian elders. Particularly we noticed the emotion of that text; their love for each other; Paul’s love for the church “for whom Christ shed His blood”; and the potential dangers that come from within. It was a sweet time discussing God’s word and we finished that time with long, corporate prayer for CLF.
• It’s obvious that the Lord is at work at CLF. One of our first questions is always, “where is God at work in our church?” In reply to that question, one of our elders said, “where is He not at work. It’s so obvious He’s at work.” I wholeheartedly agree with that. What a privilege it is to be a small part of what God is doing among us.
• At our Annual Family Meeting (December 9th) we hope to give more details about decisions we’re making regarding building expansion, property options, and the thoughts we have about 2-services, just to name a few things that we will be touch on in that meeting.
With us being gone, it opened up opportunities for other folks to serve CLF. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to have such a deep bench of men to choose from to preach God’s word to us. Several years ago, Jeff Purswell who’s the Dean of the SGC Pastors’ College, said that he’d like to see all SGC churches have a “company of expositors”. It has been amazing to watch God do that in our midst.
Yesterday did not disappoint with Dan Sieker taking on a very challenging text from Esther. What most of you may not know is that due to some scheduling challenges, Dan took this text about 10 days ago. Now, it doesn’t surprise any of us the precision and passion that Dan took with this sermon. Dan could be “hitting lead-off” for any number of churches and to have him, being a faithful member at CLF, is truly humbling. But Dan wasn’t the only one who took on extra duties. All of our deacons were on watch and were there to love on our folks. Derick Anderson took on announcements and made sure the service ran smoothly. Dan Reeves did the call to worship and Curt Finnie honored and prayed for Dan Sieker before he preached.
I’m amazed and grateful at how our church is filled with such wonderful servants, willing to serve Jesus and this church.
From the Cheap Seats:
Some of you have asked me what a a normal work-week looks like for me & since some people think the pastor only works on Sundays (I say that with tongue firmly planted in my cheek), here’s how a normal work-week goes “in a nutshell”:
• 1/2 a day on Monday to write and plan the week
• Tuesday I fill with meetings and administrative duties.
• Wednesday is the time I start dialing in more heavily for Sunday’s sermon and sprinkle meetings in.
• Thursday I want to have an outline formed with an introduction written and I’m usually finishing plans for a meeting that night.
• Friday is all about the Sunday sermon.
• Saturday night, after everyone has gone to bed, I stay up late to go over my sermon, highlight key things, and pray.
• Sunday morning I do final prep, pray and then let it rip.
• On a week like last week, when I’m not preaching, I spend more time planning, writing and meeting with people. Last week was an odd one because of the our planning retreat so I had tons of planning to do to get myself ready for that meeting. I took more time to make sure all the details for the retreat were in order and that I had all my thoughts down for what we might cover. And we left early Wednesday for the retreat.
• I’m not sure if you’re aware of ChristianAudio.com. They have tons of selections on audiobooks. One thing they do that I find amazing is they offer a free book every month. Now, some titles aren’t great, but this month, The Foxes Book of Martyrs is the free download. If you want an inspiring read, this is a good one. It’s about faithful servants of Jesus who gave their lives for the gospel. I always get courage from stories like this.
That’s all for now. Next week, after I jump back into Esther, I’ll have a few more things for you from that book. See you next Monday, Lord willing.