Sunday, May 25, 2014

Finding Rest For Your Soul

On a beautiful summer-like weekend, with the countryside bathed in sunshine, Pastor Shannon greets us warmly. “I am grateful you’ve chosen to worship with us here this Memorial Day weekend. The theme in our message today will be from Psalm 23."

We’re going to try to do Friendship Dinners again. Be sure to sign up.
Next Sunday the softball team will be gathering for practice at 2:00 p.m. in Twig.
Saturday, May 31: Church cleaning day.
VBS will be the week of June 16 at Grand Lake Community Church. Volunteers still needed, especially for help preparing food.
Tuesday, June 10: Ladies Day at the church, 9:00 a.m.

Chuck, Ken and Darlene led us in worship on this Memorial Day weekend and Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Finding Rest For Your Soul

"My message today is about my own spiritual journey and trying to wrestle with these issues."

Brad began his message by sharing a story about trying to cut down a tree at his mother’s house. It proved to be far more work than he realized when he started. On another day this week he tried to get things ready at their cabin but once again tried to do too much work in too short of an amount of time.

Too many of us these days are always in a hurry. All too often we rush to the store, hurry through chores and also try to rush our relationship with God. Psalm 23 offers a perfect antidote to this stress-producing way of life.

Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… He restores my soul.”

Each phrase in the psalm requires a decision. "The Lord is my shepherd" is the first fork in the road. Without a shepherd, all the issues of our life are our responsibility, and leave us in a state of worry about all the details or everything. Alternative, we can let God take care of our cares.

The solution to our harried living style is not a pop culture maxim to add margins in our lives. It begins by asking Jesus to be our Good Shepherd.

Sheep spend ten hours a grazing and the rest of their time chewing their cud. Ruminating. To ruminate, sheep must be relaxed.

Brad provided us a technique for getting more out of a passage of Scripture: break the phrase down, word by word.

The Lord.
The Lord is. He is real.
The Lord is my…. It’s personal.
The Lord is my Shepherd. Think about what the shepherd does so that the sheep do not have to think about.

The next phrase: I shall not want. Because the Lord is caring for me as the good shepherd, I can live a joyful, satisfied life. I do not have to live a life driven by unsatisfied desires.

Sheep are followers. Sheep aren’t reflective. They are passive followers of the sheep in front of them. Isaiah wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray.”

Here's another fork in the road decision: choose gratitude. Find satisfaction in the shepherd’s presence rather than his gifts.

Who is happier, the one with lots of boxes and always wanting more, or the one who has but one box but is content? More is not better.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. Too often we do not want to lie down. We want to control everything. But sooner or later we must face the fact that we’re not really in control. We’re not created to carry the burden of controlling everything.

If the Good Shepherd is present in your life, wherever you are is a green pasture.

Your life is a gift. Rest in this competent God is a gift.

Prayer is rest in God. Letting God be the one at work.

He leads me beside still waters. Sheep need still waters. When sheep fall into rushing waters they can drown.

Be still. Be still and know He is God.

He restores my soul. The good shepherd walks confidently, competently… and He says, “My sheep know My voice.”

Let Him be your shepherd. Instead of worrying about stuff, ruminate on Him. Instead of wallowing in discontent, be grateful for Him. Instead of trying to control everything through frantic activity, surrender to Him. Instead of having all this noise and chaos, listen to Him. Then you can stop living on the edge of your seat, and live with a restored soul.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Are We Going To Do With These Kids?

"I'm grateful you're here," Brad said as he welcomes us on this beautiful new day. He extended a special welcome to mothers on this Mother's Day, which began with the men of the church making a special breakfast for the mothers of our church family.

1. Brooke excitedly announced Vacation Bible School coming up June 16. Volunteers always welcome as well as a
2. Walt said it is a week for praise as the permits were all approved this week, and the financing is in place to be signed off on tomorrow. There's also an insert in the program today identifying the needs where volunteers can assist.
3. Friendship dinners will begin again this summer.

Our transition to worship began with Darlene's playing a beautiful medley beginning and ending with As a Deer... "You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship you."

Chuck read from the Psalms and then led us in song from the new songbooks. After the offering we turned our hearts to God in prayer.

What Are We Going To Do With These Kids?

Brad began by reading from Mark 10:13-16.

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Whatever age you are, this is the truth: kids are central to any culture.

He then shared the story of a homeless woman who'd just lost her children, her complicated life growing up and troubled life and subsequent behavior. Some of the complicated situations in many homes are so tragic they defy comprehension.

One church he went to said the pastor's goal there was to have all the youth of that church leave by age 18 rooted and grounded in their faith. He said in seven years he only saw one hold the faith he or she received.

Most kids today grow up expecting their parents to get a divorce.

Most kids growing up today will never have a spiritual conversation.

One of the things that keeps most parents awake at night is concern about their kids.

And so it is that Brad set the context for today's message.

In expounding on the above passage Brad sets the context by putting us in the shoes of a six year old boy whose mom was bringing him to see this great Teacher and how much enthusiasm must have been bubbling up in his heart, only to be squashed by the disciples who are acting more like Secret Service men keeping the children back.

Jesus is indignant, which is a fancy word for angry. It's good to see what makes Jesus angry, and learn from it.

Kids in that day were the bottom rung of society. Yet, here is another example of how the last will be first.

Three gifts Jesus gives us in this text.

1. First, He gives time to kids.
This is not to suggest such is simple. This is probably the busiest time in the world.

Brad shared how when he asked some people whose kids grew up well were able to do it. They said they learned how to say no to things. They made sacrifices.

All too often we want things that don't cost us anything and in point of fact, time costs us something. Time will cost you something. It may be a lesser house. Sacrificing to make sure you have a special bedtime together and meals together.

2. Second, Jesus gives His touch.

We were reminded that it takes five adults to raise one child. Kids need to know that we care about them for their own sake, not as a strategy to make us look good. We were reminded that it takes five adults to raise one child. Kids need to know that we care about them for their own sake, not as a strategy to make us look good. Brad thanked all the heroes in our church who are actively investing in kids' lives here, in Sunday school, Wednesday nights, Kids Club, etc. Brad thanked all the heroes in our church who are actively investing in kids' lives here, in Sunday school, Wednesday nights, Kids Club, etc.

3. Third, He gives His blessing.

Kids don't just need us, but they need God in their lives.

What are we going to do with these kids? We give them our time. We give them our touch. We give them our faith.