I’m reading Crazy Horse and Custer by historian Stephen Ambrose. I’ve read two other books by Ambrose: D-Day, and Ike’s Spies. I like Ambrose because he knows when to stop. Some historians give us too much supporting information, going on and on with barely relevant quotes or statistics that go over one’s head. Ambrose knows when to give just enough supporting details to give us a good sense of the background to the story, without losing us. I appreciate the balance.
When I’ve written family histories about my ancestors, I had to find that balance. To get to the truth, I want to leave no stone unturned, researching old agricultural censuses, unearthing gossip editorializing in old newspapers, and checking out tax records, but that’s too much information for someone who just wants the exciting parts of the story. So, one of the big jobs of writing history is to know when to stop. When it comes to learning about one’s ancestors, summarizing is important.
Its like that with preaching, as well. I need to gather all the info I can on my text, but I need to make the scriptures relevant to the listener’s life and learn when to stop. When it takes a 2’x4′ up side the head to awaken one person, it will destroy another. When it comes to sharing your story, know when to stop.
This coming weekend I’m beginning a series entitled ‘What is the Church?’ from Ephesians. We’re specifically looking for how Ephesians defines the church. January 2&3 we’ll look at Ephesians chapter 1 trying to answer that question. So, my challenge for each of you is that you read Ephesians 1 before we get there and see what the Bible tells us about the definition of the church.
I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the way most Christians define the church, and how easy it is to walk away from it because we don’t understand what the church of Jesus Christ really is. The understanding we’ll receive in this series will reopen our eyes to a new and powerful reality.
So, read chapter 1 prior to this weekend and come expecting to grow in your faith.
Judy LaFevra has gone home to be with the Lord. Judy was always optimistic and excited for the Lord. And she was a strong behind-the-scenes supporter for Don in his musical ministry. And she was a detail person!
Some time back Judy had a serious health issue and God pulled her through it with several miracles. She wanted to tell me all about it. She also wanted to share that testimony with the church. Because we knew Judy was a talker, we asked her if we could video the testimony and edit it to a 4-minute testimony. She agreed. By the time the video shoot was completed, she had talked for a half hour. So, we had to cut way more than we saved. When she saw it, she was disappointed. All of that was important, she said. And it was – it was her story. But we had to make it fit our setting. Pastor Adam was stressed about how to edit it, but I was chuckling inside myself. Judy wanted to give God the glory for everything – every detail.
Both Judy and her husband, Don, were great encouragers. Now she has received the ultimate healing and is at peace with God.
What will you remember about Judy LaFevra?
Anita and I went to visit our mothers at Smith Farms Manor Christmas Day. We took them our gifts and some updated photos of our grand kids.
While visiting Anita’s mother, Anita went into the bedroom to place the 5×7 photos into the frames, leaving me in the living room to chat with her mother. While in there, Anita began to chat away about the placement of the photos. Now, Anita knows her 92-year old mother can’t hear much, but she kept talking. Eva gave me a puzzled look, like she didn’t understand what was said. I just smiled.
After a bit, Eva said to me, “I think they’re talking to one another.”
I still don’t know if she misspoke or was making a joke, but I’ve been chuckling inside myself ever since.
It would help each of us if we did less talking to ourselves and more time talking to the Lord.
On Christmas Eve we watched ‘Its a Wonderful Life’ one more time. This classic Christmas movie has been warming hearts for 67 years, and never loses its appeal. George Bailey has two friends that have minor supporting roles: a cab driver and a police officer. Their names are Bert and Ernie. Their roles may have been minor, but they were supportive to the show.
Years later, two Sesame Street muppets were named after these two: Bert and Ernie. This new Bert and Ernie always work together and have likewise entertained thousands.
I don’t know why those muppeteers chose the names Bert & Ernie for the two moppets, because few people know the connection with the cab driver and policeman from Its a Wonderful Life.
Perhaps there will very soon be a time when your insignificant life suddenly becomes significant. People may not know your name, but God knows it all along.
We had our family Christmas yesterday (December 23), and it was great to watch the excitement over Christmas gifts with the grandkids. But there was a bleak side to all the fun. Little Ruby was sick and spent the whole time in her mother’s arms, watching the excitement through her glassy eyes between vomiting episodes.
So, the three-year old merely watched Christmas without really participating. I wonder how many people in the world simply watch Christmas go by, without ever really participating. Christmas is the celebration of God becoming man. If we merely get into the Santa Claus thing, but ignore the incarnation, then we really are missing Christmas altogether.
On this Christmas Eve, let’s wake up to what is really happening in the world. Don’t miss Christmas!
If you missed the announcement last weekend, we announced that Rev Jeff Pike will be joining the pastoral staff at New Hope the first week in January. Pastor Jeff will be working with the administration and financial aspects of the church, as well as scheduling many volunteers, and giving guidance to our GET (missions) Team.
Pastor Jeff was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, but moved to Florida to begin a civil engineering career. While there he felt called to the mission field. After completing biblical training, he left to serve with YWAM, a well-known missions agency, with whom he spent about 20 years serving in South Africa. He and his wife, Robin, have three adopted children, ages 6, 8, and 13.
We flew the family up here two weeks ago to see if we all felt a connection, and we did. Many of the church leadership got to meet them, because I didn’t want to make a decision of this magnitude by myself. We are all in agreement this is the leading of the Lord for the next phase in ministry at New Hope.
Rejoice with me as we prepare for great things in 2015.