A full day of services, preaching 3 services, and hearing other voices in the church building…let the musings begin.
I cannot tell you how excited I was (and am) about Sunday’s services. It’s the first time since March 15th that we had an in-person church service. I didn’t sleep well (more on that in a moment) but I was full of faith for what the Lord was going to do. Here are some highlights:
- Some have asked me how I felt after preaching 3 services. You folks know me well that I don’t normally hold anything back. But I told our servers before the first service, “we’ve got to treat this like a long baseball game, so don’t overdo your energy in the 1st inning.” So, I tried to abide by that principle, while giving it my best. I actually felt just as energized in the 12:00 service as I did at the 8:00 one (so did others). And the Lord sustained my voice through the entire day.
- Now, one thing that I wasn’t expecting was that my stomach muscles were tired…never thought I would need to do core work or sit-ups to preach multiple times:). But, I will admit that rather than doing core work on Sunday afternoon…I did the most spiritual thing I could do…took a nap. I did take a few songs off in the song portion of worship over the 2nd and 3rd services.
- Dave Ruble nailed it…there is something power and unique when the church gathers. To be in-person to sing, hear God’s word, and take communion is an abiding place for the Spirit. This is why, when I hear many modern day so-called prophets, decry the importance of the church or speak ill of her, I am repulsed. Is she perfect? No. Is she Jesus’s bride? Absolutely. And to know that God invites us to take part in it and He visits us uniquely when we gather is…amazing!
- I asked a few people to let me know what it was like to be back at church on Sunday. Here are their thoughts:
- “Being at church today was a breath of fresh air. It was an amazing reminder of what is of first importance and that is the gospel. Hearing the truth of the gospel live again was heart filling and life giving and not ear tickling like I have become accustomed to the last several weeks. The message was clear and though my heart has wandered, the battle plan has never changed, fall so deeply in love with Christ that he “dwells in you richly”. That the fear distractions of this world don’t seduce your mind. “But the peace that surpasses understanding” will comfort you and sustain you. Being with family is truly a blessing and I hope I remember to never take it for granted no matter how big or small the gathering, it revives my soul.” Ryan Murray
- “Well first off, if was wonderful to to see everyone’s faces. The group was small, but that didn’t matter. Right after the service I was able to visit with friends and mentors and it was a breath of fresh air after being away from the church family for so long. I also enjoyed being in the present with worship and with the message. It isn’t the same when you aren’t in the sanctuary with everyone, hearing the other voices singing along with you, or knowing that everyone is there and hearing the same Gospel message that you are. The message itself was perfect for the occasion and I’m glad I was there in person to hear it, along with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for the sermon, it was a clear reminder of the things that need to be valued during this time.” Sicily Tornell
- “I don’t know if I can adequately describe what today was like, being in church again. I knew I missed everyone but I didn’t realize to what extent my soul was craving being together with my church family; worshiping, and seeing your faces! What joy!!! If today was a just a minuscule peek into what heaven is going to be like, well, there are no words. I’m beyond thankful and grateful that we are meeting again. I’m praying it continues and that all of us can be together at the same time soon. We weren’t made to not worship together, which has become so telling in the last couple months. Thanks again for the perfect sermon for the times we are living in now.” Beth Kailiuli
- “I wanted to thank you for all of the extra and challenging work you and the staff/volunteers are putting into our new Sunday services. It seems like it would be so much easier to just continue online services until we can meet in a large group again, but I (and I know so many others) SO appreciate that you all are putting in so much extra effort and time to allow us to come to church. I was so encouraged by getting to be at church yesterday. So I just wanted to say thank you!” Nicole Hill
- After preaching 3, the 10:00 service sermon flowed much better than the 8:00 or the 12:00. Not sure why, but it is what it is. Since I preach from a manuscript, the main content is pretty much the same, but I add little things here and there that are helpful in some spots and not so helpful in others. And thankfully, the 10:00 sermon is the one we recorded.
- It was an amazing feeling to hear the saints sing together and again and see faces/responses to the sermon. CLF, you’re an amazing church to serve. You have been responsive, eager, and willing to serve. Your desire to be at church and fellowship with one another is so cool. This is why we’re eager and willing to do multiple services. Too be honest, if I had to do church in a Hazmat suit in order to serve you guys, I’d do it gladly!
From the Cheap Seats:
- This from my friend, Dave Quilla, who’s a huge car racing fan…”If there is any doubt left that God is a nascar fan, consider for a minute the ONLY sport he is allowing right now…”
- As I told Dave, actually, German soccer (Bungeslisa League) started back on Saturday without fans. Clarence Keller was watching and said it was weird watching it because you could just hear the players and coaches talking to each other. Well, that evidently didn’t go so well, because one player was caught using extreme profanity towards another player. You have to know that this won’t be the last time that’s going to happen.
- Back to my lousy sleeping on Saturday night…as some of you know, our youngest daughter, Bethany, is quite the young gal. She has a dream of developing a sheep flock. She had 2 ewes bred this last year and now has 4 baby lambs. You can read the story about 2 of the babies’ delivery night here: (Lambing at the Yorkies). Well, now those 4 lambs are weaning off their mamas and guess where their field is? Yeah, right behind my bedroom window. Smart play on Bethany’s part…she’s on the opposite side of the house!
- Finally, our baby dedications are getting backed up! It’s gonna be quite the future list of dedications coming and I for one, cannot wait! Praying for all of you pregnant mothers and grateful for the healthy “pandemic” deliveries so far.
God is kind to us, CLF…with much grace and appreciation.