Sunday, October 23, 2016

Moving Targets

The Sound Team
Those who arrive early can capture the flavor of our worship themes as the worship team practices beforehand. As the sanctuary fills there are many new faces, and pastor Terry White has instituted the habit of having us write our names on name tags so we get to know one another by name and not just by face. (My name is Ed.)

After a sound check Pastor White invited us to come in and take a seat so we can begin our service. "Good morning," he exclaimed, and after

Fall craft and quilt retreat, October 28 & 29. Contact Amy D or Darlene.
Men's Iron Sharpening Iron is next Saturday at Clyde Iron, 9-12
Next Sunday there will be a Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting after the service.
And don't forget to keep in mind that Daylight Savings Time will end November 6. "Fall Back" one hour at 2 a.m.

The Worship Team
Pastor Terry stated, "Some people think we go to the Bible to find Truth, but I believe we go to the Bible to find Jesus." Then invited us to worship. The music team, comprised of Terry White's daughters and son-in-law Joe, led us in a special heart-felt series of worship songs rooted in Scripture and history.

After the offering and a time of prayer, Terry began his message.

Moving Targets

A Weekly Object Lesson
Pastor Terry shared how getting know us as a congregation helps his sermons become more on target, hence he enjoys taking time after the service to interact with us. He also noted that conversations are a way he can get better at liberating us from the things tripping us up or trapping us.

Another point he made was how life is sometimes a jumble because our head knows the truth but our hearts are cold or hurt.

The congregation was given an assignment last week: research the heart. Last week's message gad to do with the heart.
"If you're headed in the wrong direction, no point being in a hurry." As Jeremiah once wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and there is no cure."

The Good News of the Gospel is that a stony cold heart can be removed and replaced with a heart of flesh.

Life is a difficult battle between having a thick skin and a soft heart. We live in a rough world and it would be easier if we could just harden our hearts to the pain, but what God wants is for us to keep our hearts tender as we thicken our skin.

A disciple is a fully devoted follower of Christ. Since Jesus calls us to "make disciples" we should understand what a disciple is.

It's important to be disciples ourselves, but also learn how to help others become or be disciples.

When our hearts are wounded we can wound others.

It is really important to understand where our hearts are at. This is very different from legalism where we wear a shell that lets people know we are Christians. God wants us healed and healing others from within, from the heart.

The challenge of being a true follower of the light is that the closer we get to the light the more messed up we discover we are. Yet this gracious God loves us as we are and invites us to draw nearer still.

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

In Psalm 32 David wrote, "Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven." Terry went further and this passage should be read and internalized.And then we looked at Psalm 51.

When we fail, when we sin, we can seek forgiveness and it lifts us up. But when we continue in sin it's a downward spiral, causing shame and heaviness. Pastor Terry encouraged us to know the condition of our hearts.

He then talked about growing up in Kansas. He showed us a purple clothing item that initially led us to think it was a Vikings jersey, but turned out to say K State, short for Kansas State. Kansas State, where his uncles attended college, did not have a good football team. In fact they were very weak. But on one occasion when he was eight years old he went to a game between Kansas State and Kansas that was very dramatic, which their team looked to potentially win. In his excitement, young Terry exclaimed that that's what he wanted to do when he grew up. His father's response cut deep. "You'll never be good enough."

Terry wasn't looking for sympathy here. He was illustrating a point. Words can be powerful, and hurt us very deeply. We all carry painful moments in which something that was said simply crushed us.

He reminded us of the Beattitude: "Blessed are those who mourn will be comforted."

And then he shared the key to healing. Our hearts are filled with little things that gnaw at us. Forgiveness is a big part of getting our hearts straight and whole.

Lake Superior is a great parable. At times it is crystal clear. But other times there are storms and the water is murky, muddy and a swirling dark.

In closing he shared a song called Martyrs and Thieves that begins "There's place in the darkness I used to cling to..."  I strongly encourage you to read the lyrics here.

The Christian life is one of paradox, in which we are asked to give up something worthless in exchange for something of infinite value.

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