Momentum is up, enthusiasm is up, and excitement is up as we welcome our new Lead Pastor, Shan Moyers. Over the next few months Shan and I will be sharing the leadership responsibilities as he settles in to his new assignment and as I transition on. I don’t merely want Shan to “succeed” me but to “exceed” me!
It was stunning news. Early Monday morning an old college friend suddenly died. Don Jeanes was a classmate of Linda and mine at Milligan College. After graduating Don went on to serve as the minister of two different congregations and then as President of our college for 14 years. He had just transitioned to a Chancellor role when he collapsed.
“98!” On Monday, that was the number I put on a flip chart for our staff. When I asked what they thought it represented, one comedian quipped: “Your age!” When the laughter subsided I was finally able to make my important announcement.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity . . . For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forever more.” (Psalm 133)
It was a remarkable moment! Yesterday afternoon church leaders gathered in our Chapel for a celebration. They came from throughout Boulder County representing congregations large and small, old and new, spanning the denomination divide. It was their monthly prayer event - with a special focus . . . me!
We’re all travelers. Each of us is in some way en route from one place to another. For example, our daughter Kristin and her husband, Dave, have just returned from Cambodia and are now driving from the east coast to Colorado. Their trip is a major one, not just in terms of geography but personally. With a baby on the way, Dave needs to quickly land a new job and find a place for his family to live other than in our basement!
“What’s going on at RMCC?” That question can be raised in a variety of tones and on a variety of topics. Please allow me to provide a little more of the “back-story” on my decision to retire from my role as the lead pastor. It’s unfortunate that due to technological glitches and mailing problems that some have received the word belatedly. Our apologies.
The state of Colorado is a state of pain. Suffering surrounds us. Fires are raging. Hundreds have lost their homes. Tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate. The end of the drought seems to be nowhere in sight. The suffering of some is overwhelming; yet their response is still inspiring.
One woman grieving the loss of her home is already rebounding. She is looking forward to rebuilding. She is counting her blessings. She said: “When you lose everything, you realize that what you have left is love. We are rich in love.”
We’ve all got appointments. Some days are jammed with things we have to do, others with opportunities we get to enjoy. Most days are filled to the max with a mix of both - including a few “divine appointments” that we didn’t expect.
How long has it been since you really felt honored? Some people might have a hard time recalling the last time that happened. Maybe a better question is . . . how long has it been since someone really felt honored by you?
He is reversing the curse! One of the men just recently baptized has shared some of his sad saga with me. His family issues are far from the normal ones, but then so is his response. He is determined to break the cycle and flow blessing rather than cursing!
True confession, I don’t pray for our nation every day. While I pray daily for my family and our family of faith, I don’t pray daily for our country. You can add that to the long list of things I should do but don’t do!
Can people really change? All of us know how hard it is to simply change a bad habit, much less the entire trajectory of our lives. Some don’t think it’s even possible, but believers know better. We know that all things are possible with God.
The “normal” Christian life is one of both great privilege and great pain. It’s not one or the other; it’s both, often at the same time. That was true for the first Christians and it’s still true today.
The New Testament letters were written to a suffering church. Persecution was rampant. That’s why in his letter, James said, “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering.”
Jesus had a fan club. They turned out in great numbers and with great enthusiasm to sing His praises. As He entered Jerusalem many even spread their garments on the road ahead of Him. Others cut leafy branches from the fields and waved them. Jesus was their hero; unfortunately, the fans were fickle.
Many are in great pain. We saw that documented last weekend when dozens responded asking for anointing and prayer. While we didn’t promise anyone instant healing, we did offer to do what the Bible teaches. That invitation was met with a huge response on both campuses.
Have you ever felt like giving up? Maybe giving up on a marriage, a job or a relationship; maybe even giving up on you or possibly even giving up on God?
Most of us know what it’s like to feel hopeless about something or someone. Sometimes the responsibilities and disappointments of life can feel overwhelming. Who hasn’t wished that they could escape from something? Even King David admitted to that.
It all began three months ago with a broken Kenmore 80 washing machine. Heather and Brian Dawson have four kids so they quickly ordered a less expensive washer. Unfortunately, it didn’t work; nor did the next one. That’s when they wondered if God might be at work, so they cancelled their order and they waited.
Here’s how Heather described their “altar” experience:
Life is a series of seasons and transitions. Our son is in the midst of one now with the U.S. Navy. Joel’s not certain whether his next assignment will be in North Carolina or Afghanistan. All he knows is that he will soon be facing another major transition. He either will be closer to home, or be deployed to the other side of the world.
“The last two years have been two of the worst years of my life!” Whenever someone says something like that, they’ve got my attention. Especially when it’s a staff member! But that’s not all that he said.
I was just on my knees thanking God for the elders of our church. The seven men who serve with me on the eldership team are each a gift of God to me and to our ministry. They breathe life into me. They pray with me, laugh with me, listen to me, challenge me and at times grieve with me. I love each one!
“Christianity wouldn’t be so hard if it weren’t for Christians!”A doctor friend was chuckling when he made that comment to me yesterday. He thought it was amusing. I wondered if it just might be true.
The best part of my life is the relationship part—and the hardest part of my life is the relationship part!I don’t go long without an opportunity to apologize or to forgive. It happens almost every day. Relationships are my greatest encouragement and my greatest struggle.
“How is your life better now than it was a few years ago?” That’s the question that stumped a friend of mine. He didn’t know how to respond and he’s not alone. He knows he’s not been in the best place, but by God’s grace he’s now beginning to make some progress. I’m proud of him. He’s now putting a plan in place to move to a better place in his spiritual growth.
Everyone wants to get better. I certainly do. In fact, I’m recommitting to some things that will help lead me to a better place by this time next year. I don’t just want to go through 2012; I want to grow through 2012!
“I’m in love with hope!” I’m not sure who first said it, but that really resonates with me. How about you? When we have hope we have expectation that the future will be better.
Are you low on hope right now? Do you wonder whether things in this world and in your life will ever get better? A friend just called to report that after five years, a broken relationship with his sister had suddenly been restored. He had no idea it was going to happen at all, much less so quickly!
I may be the only guy that sings to his dog! Each time that I feed Molly Brown the Dog of Renown, she hears the same song. “God we thank you, God we thank you, for our food, for our food, and our many blessings, and our many blessings, amen, amen!” During the song, Molly lays down to “pray” and only heads to her food dish when given the command, “Bon Appétit, it’s time to eat!”
“This is an awesome day!” I overheard those words in the baptistery last Sunday—and it’s true! Seventy-nine (Yes,79!) responded to the invitation (and I have no doubt that some still will!) including forty-two (Yes, 42!) in baptism!
Someone once said, “Until there is commitment, there is hesitancy!” We all know that until we make a commitment, change rarely happens. It applies to everything from regular flossing to kneeling daily in prayer.
What good thing have you been putting off? We all have things that we one day intend to do. Many of these things are truly God-honoring. So, how will your life be improved if you wait even longer to do them?
Some of the notes and emails that we receiveare so encouraging that they deserve a wider audience. That’s certainly the case withthe messages below. These came in response to our recent blessing blitz in honor of first responders within our community. These will inspire you!
One of our men was amazed that he had misunderstood something so important for so long. When he watched a video in his small group he was at first confused because the speaker kept talking about the activity of the Holy Spirit. Up to that point my friend thought that the Holy Spirit was restricted to either the early church or now to the written Word.