Sunday, April 29, 2012

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

“Hey, good morning! Sing with me!” Reverend Brad Shannon welcomed us and rang out again, “Sing with me!“ And we broke into If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.

"In Sunday school we were talking about the kingdom of God, which is a difficult concept for a lot of people. The kingdom of God in Scripture refers to the sphere of God’s effective will. What God wants to see get done gets done. You who profess Jesus are within the kingdom and hence pray, 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'"
Announcements this morning included:
1.       Congregational meeting will be held after the service.
2.       Elsa explained that the youth will be selling shares of stock to raise money for CHIC.
3.       Yesterday's rummage sale raised $944.50

For the introit Darlene played “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us” and it was very beautiful. Worship time seemed especially meaningful today, beginning with How Majestic Is Your Name and concluding with the beautiful classic hymn Come Thou Fount…

Verse three begins…
“Oh to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee…”

After the offering Leonard read to us from Acts 4:5-12. Pastor Shannon then led us in a time of prayer.

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

Brad addressed us from the floor of the sanctuary this morning. He began by noting that though he intended to start a series on the book of Ephesians, he had some things come up and decided to go in a different direction. “I’m hoping you will let me just wander today.”

At the end of your life what matters more, that you were successful or that you were faithful?

Brad began with a story from his youth involving raking leaves.  Brad’s father had asked him to rake the leaves in the back yard one Sunday afternoon. But wanted to watch a football game. His plan was to watch game, then during half time rake as many leaves as possible as fast as possible at halftime and then be raking after when his dad came home. His strategy at halftime was to rake the leaves under the porch. His aim was to give the illusion of faithfulness, not being faithful. There is a difference and it is a really issue that applies to us. Do we want to be faithful to Christ or only give the appearance of being faithful.

There’s a story of Saul in book of Samuel. In which he was instructed by God to utterly wipe out the Amalekites including all their animals. But Saul compromised on this and spared a few people and kept the best sheep and animals for himself.

God had said to destroy everything, but he did not. But when God sent Samuel to address this matter, Saul acted as if he had indeed followed God’s instruction. Saul  acted all cheerful because he was O.K. with the impression of faithfulness. Samuel replied, “What’s this bleating of sheep I hear?”

“What do you want to hear at the end of your life?” Brad then asked.  Boy, you had a successful business. Your church really grew. Or “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

You cannot minimize little acts of faithfulness that you might do. You will never know what a little act of faithfulness will accomplish.

Brad then told the story of an inner city church that was situated in a community that changed around it. It was a white church in a black inner city neighborhood. The church was dying and had withered to only twenty members. One day a black woman came into the church with her kids and sat in the back. She worked two jobs, was tired. The pastor welcomed her, and then later visited her in her home that afternoon. This visit led to the pastor recognizing the importance of making an effort to connect to this community and it changed the direction of the church. That woman was Debbie Blue, and she is now director of compassion, mercy and justice in Covenant Church.  

Brad asked us to close our eyes and think about those who have been influential in our lives. Who has been influential in your life?

What would it mean for someone else to live their life worthy of you? It’s a question of legacy. Not everything God wants to accomplish through us can be completed in our lifetime. We do our part to move it forward and pass on the legacy to another generation as Moses had to do.

In Numbers 14 the people of Israel were in between places, between Egypt to the Promised Land and all they had done was complain. At this point they had to make a decision. Do they want to spend forty years in the Wilderness, or do they want to choose to follow where God is leading them?

We, too, have decisions before us.

After a closing hymn we broke for coffee, then gathered again for an important congregational meeting.


Chuck Vandscheuren led the meeting, beginning by asking Bob Smith to pray for God’s presence and blessing.

The agenda was as follows.
1.       Approval of minutes
2.       Financial Report
3.       Nominations
4.       Building Committee
5.       Capital Campaign Committee
6.       Constitution

While the financial reports were being handed out we voted for an approved the new board, which was as follows:
Chairman: Leonard Armstrong
Secretary: RuthAnne Schelinder
Financial Secretary: Duane Anderson
Facilities: Bob Winship
Missions: Dawn Walsh
Pastoral Relations Committee: Chuck Vanderscheuren
(All but the last two are two year positions.)

The budget discussion followed.  Budget was accepted and approved. Duane and Dale then stood and presented the progress of the building committee.

Duane shared how this is a two-phase construction project. The first phase will not have a dedicated sanctuary but would instead have a multi-use area until the second phase can complete the project. The various rooms were identified, including an art and music multi-use space with a sink. The sound system is very important in the plan and many other details are being attended to from septic system locations to wetlands issues, parking spaces and a well, which costs $47 a foot plus costs for permitting, etc.

Joanne Winship made a speech regarding the capital campaign, and then Chuck explained a change in the constitution that we needed to approve in order to get a loan from the denomination.

All in all, decisions were made and things are moving forward. Communication is important though, and everyone involved is available to answer questions. 

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