1) The church leadership, in an effort to make the semi-annual meeting more interesting, has planned a dinner for Thursday, October 28 with the theme "Navigate 2011." The dinner/meeting will take place from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
2) Adventure Club and Youth Group will begin this week. Adventure Club will run from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. and Youth Group from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
3) There will be a Women's Tea Saturday at noon, with a program by Sharry Widriff.
4) A special Eagle Scout Court of Honor will convene Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at St. Rafael's Church near the intersection of Highway 53 and Ugstad Road. Steven Borndal will be among those honored for this achievement.
Darlene ushered us into worship with a lively introit, then assisted Brad in leading our congregational singing. After the offering Scripture reading (II Tim. 1:1-14) and prayer, Peggy Carlson sang for us a wonderful rendition of Take My Life. Brad then spoke to us from his heart.
"I hold in my hand the proverbial glass..." Yes, it was the half full/half empty glass of which so much has been made. Optimists tend toward seeing the glass half full, pessimists see it as half empty.
Is there a Biblical basis for hope as we wrestle with the issues of this life? There are plenty of reasons for being pessimistic, so many conflicts and difficulties which lead us into a downward spiral of hopelessness and pessimism.
Brad then shared the phrase that leaped out at him from the life of David in II Samuel chapter 12. The circumstances were these. David had greatly failed God and his people, having killed a righteous man in order to have his wife. The prophet Nathan had come to David at great risk to himself and confronted the king with a word from God, that David's son would die. It was a grievous judgment, and when the son became ill David prayed earnestly that God would spare him. But the child died.
Here is the passage the immediately follows:
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"
22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.'
Brad's message today focused on this statement by David, "Who knows? The Lord may be gracious." What's striking here is that David had been told that the child was going to die. Yet, he travailed in prayer, and remained optimistic. "Who knows? Maybe the Lord will be gracious."
Where did this optimism come from? Brad traced it back to his time shepherding his father's sheep. The first instance of tested faith was when a bear threatened to devour some of the flock. David could have run, could have played it safe. But instead, he put himself between the bear and the sheep. Brad compared it to a toss of the coin.... perhaps David would be mauled or killed by the bear, but he had to trust God and do the right thing by his father's property. And God came through.
The second time was when a lion came to make off with the sheep. Again, David chose to trust God and in the process learned something. His optimism and faith brought him through, even when it seemed hopeless.
So it is that one day David was asked to bring food to his brothers who were fighting in the army. There he saw Goliath, the Philistine giant, trash talking the army of Israel, and their God. David had flipped the coin before and God came through. He once again would take that chance, do the right thing and meet this trash talking enemy. As he grabbed the last of the five smooth stones, his experiences with the bear and lion were not far from his mind. "Who knows? Maybe God will come through again?" And there it is, the mind of an optimist.
In verse 21 of chapter 12, when his son died, the very first thing David did was to worship. He had hoped for something miraculous, but accepted the judgment. He went into the house of the Lord, still an optimist, his optimism rooted in his God.
Brad shared that one reason for this message today is that he himself needs this. The troubles of this world conspire to bring us down. But who knows? Maybe God will show up today? Maybe today will be the day that something holding you back will be released. Maybe today a burden you have carried a very long time will be lifted.
At this we entered into Communion. Jesus said, "Remember Me."