Today I had the opportunity to sit in front of my TV and be a greeter at Church. This isn’t how this is supposed to be. We had some technical difficulties, and the feed was missing sound for the first 10 minutes. This is not how this is supposed to be. I had technical difficulties at home with my TV, and I participated in the service through a 4″ phone. This morning all I thought was, “This isn’t how it is supposed to be.”
During the service, once it got working, I had some friends from Church text me about the tech stuff and sent me thanks for it working. I had nothing to do with fixing it, I just let the team know at Church it wasn’t working. At the end of our conversation, one of them said, “I can’t wait until I can see my Church family again.” I agreed this isn’t how this is supposed to be.
Although there is a lot of good that has come from all this, not the least of which is churches and people sharing Jesus online, I cannot tell you how much I want to be together with people in worship. This is not how it is supposed to be. I look forward to the amazing moment when our community can be together again. It will be a great moment for our people and for me personally. I love people, and I can’t wait to be together again.
I had a thought today; even when we get back together, even when we get together and pull out all the stops and it feels like heaven, it won’t be. This just isn’t how it is supposed to be. You see one day, when this is all over, we will gather all together, in person, in our resurrected body for worship that will last for eternity. It will be beyond amazing, and it will be beyond everything we have ever experienced or seen. We will hug our loved ones and celebrate Jesus like we can’t even imagine. That is the day we see a little here but will see more fully when Jesus comes again.
I pray as we go through these days that we are reminded that this isn’t how it is supposed to be, not just in worship, all of it. Jesus changes everything, and I can’t wait for it to be just as He said it will be.
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:13-17 ESV
I love VBS. Now that I have that off my chest… For some people VBS is a painful experience they have to live through. For some youth workers VBS is some of the hardest times of their lives. That is not me. I love VBS. I love those 15 hours of pure joy over five wonderful days. I love the laughter, joy and Jesus we get to share with students for that week. It is some of the best times in the world.
I probably love VBS so much because it taught me something about Jesus that I will never forget and still love today. You see I came from a Church that did VBS over the top awesome. For a Church that worshiped 300 on a Sunday we had well over 550 students at VBS. We packed the place to where we had kids everywhere and adults had to stand because you couldn’t sit is a pew. (Luckily the fire marshal never showed up because I am sure we broke fire code) But seriously, VBS to this day still brings me back to some amazing times in my faith journey and I learned some amazing things about Jesus those weeks.. We are now 20 days from VBS here at St. John and I can’t wait.
I learned one very important thing at VBS growing up that I pray is something I teach kids every year. I learned Loving Jesus is fun. Knowing Jesus is fun. Singing and dancing for Jesus is fun. Jesus brings us joy. Once when I was a teen at VBS serving in music leading I was walking in late to the morning program because I was picking up my friend. When we walked in the kids were singing and the walls were literally shacking. Not the speakers were cranking… The kids were singing so loud you could see the walls shake. To this day I cannot get that image out of my head. I want my kids and all kids to sing so loud for Jesus the walls shake. I want them to know him so much that the joy of His grace spreads to our community and world. I look forward to sharing in the joy of the Lord in a few short weeks. I am almost giddy with excitement.
Today as you walk with Jesus remember the joy we have in Christ. Share that Joy with others. Maybe you aren’t in that season of Joy but I pray you can get there. I pray you can see the walls shaking because the joy of Jesus is being shared….Oh and if you are in Rochester Michigan come join us as we share Jesus with some amazing kids. I promise you will hear a joyful noise!!
I am tired. I have been busy these last few months. I haven’t written a blog post is over 3 months. It has mostly been due to being busy and tired. I often forget about how tiring ministry can be. We can be tired because we are overworked, or struggle to find purpose. Most of all I think we are tired because we grow tired of sharing Jesus. We forget our joy in sharing the story of Jesus and his forgiveness. We do this because we lose focus on what we are doing in ministry.
yesterday however was a fun and exciting day. I am a Star Wars fan. I really enjoy the fun of the light sabers and music, and the wonder we see in those films. I had the joy of leading chapel yesterday. I handed out light sabers to the ushers at chapel and I had them play Star Wars music for chapel as the kids walked in the room. It was a great moment watching many of the kids come into chapel excited to see what would be done today. We of course didn’t put our primary focus on Star Wars. We focused on Jesus. We used Star Wars as a way to share Jesus with students. We used light sabers to foscus kids on the light of the world. We had so much fun as a group. What I noticed most today was the joy I had in sharing Jesus with kids. Too often we forget about this joy because we are so focused on work to be done, or the projects to be completed. We focus on the conflicts in our churches or the pain being caused to us by our sin.
Those things above don’t go away when have are good days but when we can focus on sharing Jesus we see God working in the lives of people we can have joy. So let us instead focus on sharing Jesus. Let us never grow tired of sharing Jesus.
For those of you who are reading this and aren’t full time ministers. I would challenge you in your daily life, when you are feeling tired, to focus on the joy of sharing Jesus. We all are busy with life but if you can focus your time on sharing Jesus in our work, family and daily lives we can find joy. We may be tired today but let us all never grow tired of sharing Jesus with everyone we meet.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV
So this week we I was part of a team trying to help our staff be more physically healthy. One of the ways we are doing this is through a biggest loser challenge. For those that wanted to participate we broke them into teams to help us all be accountable. The goal is to help the staff have some bonding time and also help everyone be a little healthier. The most fascinating part of this activity is people’s fascination with numbers. Some people are terrified to share their number. Others will tell you if you ask.
The scale is a terrifying thing for many people. This week we set up a scale in the office for people to use if they wanted for our biggest loser challenge. I can tell you a few of them left that room with very angry faces. In fact, one told me we shouldn’t speak to her for the rest of the day. That scale can be terrifying, hurtful, and down right painful. It doesn’t paint the whole picture of health. I can however give us a snapshot of how we are doing. It doesn’t really tell you if you are healthy but it can tell you which direction you are heading in terms of your health. I for one wanted to throw it out the window.
(One note if you are a member of St. John or any Church please look after your Church workers’ health. Bring in some healthy snacks and less cookies we need the help!)
Kicking off this program got me thinking about not just my physical health but also many families’ spiritual health. Weight gain doesn’t happen over night it happens over months and years. Weight loss is the same way. Your health spiritually is very similar. We have good years and bad years. We have ups and we have downs. This is a great time of year to get on your faith life scale. (disclaimer, I am not saying if you are not doing the following things you do not love Jesus or you do not have faith so don’t comment non-stop and tell me I am preaching moralism please)
Are you in prayer as a family? As an individual? Are you in worship? Do you come to receive God’s blessings in Communion? Have you spent time in God’s word this week? Have you cared for someone beyond yourself? Have you served your neighbor? These questions don’t tell us if we have saving faith. This is just meant to help us look at our faith lives and reassess where God can work in us to be more faithful. Let us take a look in the mirror. Let us as Jesus’s disciples get on the scale and see where we are at. Maybe it is time in your life as it is in mine to lose a few pounds and get back to work.