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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

What Kind of Church? 4/13/16

Good morning,
It is so good to be back home! I loved my time with my son and his family, got lots and lots of grandson time, but I am back and so glad to be!

I had the privilege of going to church with my kids the 2 Sunday’s while I was in Wisconsin. They attend a congregation in Burlington WI that is about our size, but is a satellite of a much, much larger congregation, Journey Church which is the mother church. The typical services each Sunday where our kids go include two worship services, because of the size of their building, and almost every week the sermon is a video of the pastor of the larger congregation which is located in Kenosha WI. The two towns are separated by about 30-40 miles. Our kid’s church has a fulltime pastor and he preaches occasionally, but most of the time it is the video sermon. I’ve had the privilege of worshiping there about 4 or 5 times now and while I thought at first that might be distracting or “weird” I’ve got to admit that while it is different, it is not distracting, it isn’t weird and I really like his preaching.

This past Sunday though was the 3rd anniversary of this congregation’s start with this arrangement of the mother church so their campus pastor preached the sermon that day. His name is Levi, he and his wife have 3 young girls and he is about 35 years of age I would guess. They moved to Burlington from Texas a little more than 3 years ago to specifically fill this position. After the service was over I texted Sue and told her that the sermon this week was for me! I know they were celebrating their 3rd anniversary, and it was about this campus and what they were doing and what God had called them to do there. But I also know that God NEVER wastes anything and He knew EXACTLY what I needed this week. Please know this; even though I am your pastor (at least most of you) there are times that I REALLY need to hear the sermon. I’ve told you before that you’re lucky – you get to hear the sermon on Sunday one time and then you go home. I have it preached to me every day that I’m working on it and many times I can’t let go of it because of what God is saying. But this week I heard the sermon once and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

I have shared with you that 2016 is the 100th birthday of Angus Church. We are planning a HUGE weekend celebration October 15 and 16. We’ve invited back former pastors, we’re sending out invitations to everyone who has moved away that we can contact, we’re going to invite local officials that weekend and we’re going to have a party! But I have to tell you that the thing I’m most excited about is the question that I’ve been asking us for the last year and a half – “What does God want to do with us in the next 5 years? What kind of church are we going to be?” But in the context of the timing of all of this it has become, “What does God want from Angus Church for the next 100 years?” The timing of this is no surprise to God. We’ve been working on our mission, the why and the what that God has placed us uniquely here for – we’ve been working on the how’s and the why’s of Angus Church and the timing of the 100th birthday is no coincidence at all! I believe that God is more interested in how we are going to affect Lincoln County than He has ever been before and I KNOW that He is stirring me and us.

I want to challenge you to do two things. First I want you to pray with me and with us as we finalize our thoughts and plans about what God is sharing with us for Angus Church. This is THE MOST essential thing that we can do. Second, I want you to mark your calendars for two very important events. The first, of course, is our 100th Birthday celebration weekend, October 15-16. But leading up to that we will be sharing the vision for the next 100 years the last two weekends of August and the four weeks of September. We are going to begin to answer the question, “What kind of church are we going to be?” and I am so excited to share with you what God is doing, how He is moving and what He has been saying. I believe that our very best days are ahead of us!

Rick

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Upcoming Activities
Wednesday April 13 – We have our regular Wednesday evening activities tonight beginning with dinner at 5:30! Hope to see you here!

Thursday April 14 – We will be having our regular monthly board meeting here tomorrow evening at 6:00.

Friday April 15-Saturday April 16 – Bonita Park is having an all-district work weekend here and we want to encourage everyone who can to come out and help. There will be lots to do and we want you!

Sunday April 24 – We will be having one combined worship service on the 24th at 10:00 a.m. followed by a teen fundraising luncheon! Our Sunday school class will meet at 9:00 a.m. that morning for all who are interested. We hope you’ll join us for this very special day!



I Will Trust in You Lord 3/30/16

Good morning,
My heart and soul were overjoyed at our Resurrection celebration! It was COLD at 6:45 a.m. over at the Prayer Pond but with a turnout of about 100 people from at least 5 different congregations, I was left with a feeling of hope – the risen Lord means that NOTHING is hopeless! Marco and Betty did an amazing job sharing at the pond there; we listened as Bobby Barnett and Ed Vinson shared messages of hope and we sang with all our hearts reminding each other, “Christ the Lord is risen today!” It was cold, but my heart was warmed.

Our Celebration Resurrection service was a highlight to me. I loved the music; not enough could be said for Cheyenne and Emily’s interpretation to “Forever” by Kari Jobe – took my breath away. And the message that God spoke to me throughout the week and that I had the privilege to share reminded me that He has called us to share His hope and love everywhere we go!

Something that I’ve come to realize is that when God moves in our lives and we sense His power and love in some amazing ways, it is then that satan will redouble his efforts to discourage us, to take our joy, to get our eyes off of God and onto our problems, onto issues that take our trust off of God and he is good at what he does. By Monday there were several things that had encroached upon my mind and had stolen my hope. That was stupid; I know better, I have been through this too many times. But nonetheless, I allowed it!

This morning, in the midst of some panic and some frustration I received a call that helped to alleviate some of that by simply taking something unpleasant off of my plate. Then I read an email that Wally sent to me – it was a devotional thought from Chuck Swindoll from yesterday I believe. I’m going to share one of the paragraphs with you.

God is always aware. And He cares very deeply. As we will see, He will do whatever it takes to rescue His people. It may be by calling someone home to Himself, or it may be by splitting an ocean right down the middle so you can walk through on dry ground. His deliverance may not arrive on your timetable or in the manner you expect it, but it will arrive at the best time, the right time. God will not abandon His own. (From Insight for Living Ministries, Chuck Swindoll’s Daily Devotional: “God Knows” Tuesday March 29, 2016.)

After I read that it reminded me of a song by Lauren Daigle, “Trust in You” that has become a favorite because of the words! I would encourage you to go to Youtube and listen to the song – but here are the words to the chorus that I am singing and singing and singing over and over and over today!

“When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move; when You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through; when You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.” (Lauren Daigle copyright 2015 Centricity Music)

So here it is, the problems are still there, satan is still trying to take my focus off of Christ, probably yours too, but no matter what else happens or doesn’t happy, “today Lord, I am going to trust in You!” I hope you will too!

Rick

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Upcoming Activities
Wednesday March 30 – There are no activities here at the church this evening because of Spring Break.

Friday-Sunday, April 1-3 – District Women’s Retreat at Bonita Park with special speaker Kirsten Hart. It is NOT too late ladies for you to go – talk to Sandy Pape for more information.

Sunday April 3 – I want to encourage you to make plans now to be here this coming Sunday morning. Korey is going to be preaching in the morning worship services and sharing God’s message. God is using this young man in some mighty ways and we need to hear what God is saying through him! Also, our Hispanic congregation will be meeting as usual at 1:00 and Marco and Betty will once again open God’s Word for His people!



His Passion 3/23/16

Good morning,
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death . . . stay here and keep watch. . . . Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:34, 36).

These are the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where He went to pray with His disciples before His arrest. I want to urge you to stop what you are doing today and read these words through at least 3 times. We have been following that pattern in our Lenten readings and as we have done so there have been some who have commented how impactful it has been to read the passage for each day 3 times. So again, let me urge you to stop and read it again, and then read it again.

The prayer in the Garden and the time that Jesus spent there was not a perfunctory task – there was nothing about it that was a routine, hasty or in any way superficial. Luke, who was a medical doctor, records for us that Jesus was in such anguish that He literally sweats drops of blood. The medical explanation of this is that it is possible, under such extreme stress and anguish.

On Sunday I urged you not to rush past this week. Take the time to read, pray about and listen to what God has to say to you about the passion of Christ. There are theologians who say that the Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus ultimately surrendered to God’s will. The Cross was the final and ultimate culmination of events, but it was in the Garden that Jesus wrestled with the weight of what was about to happen. Ultimately God would turn His back on His Son because Jesus literally took the sins of the world upon Himself so that His death could be the ultimate and final sacrifice for all of our sins. As God could not and cannot abide sin, He had to turn His back on His Son because of our sin. For the first time in His life Jesus would not know the intimate moment-by-moment communion and relationship with the Father.

It is no wonder that Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Jesus was not just “going through the motions” as He surrendered Himself to the Father for you and for me. It is the ultimate act of sacrifice and of love.

And Jesus’ prayer, “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” is the example that He sets for us. Suffering is hard; there will be times when we have to endure what we do not wish to endure; I don’t believe it is wrong for us to ask God to change the circumstances or stop them. But we have to come to the point that even if God does not change the circumstances or stop the suffering, we are content to be in His will – regardless.

Stop – listen – trust Him!

Rick

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Upcoming Activities
Wednesday March 23 – Holy Week Service at the J Bar J Country Church at noon – the service will be followed at 12:30 by a dinner for all who wish to join in.

We have our dinner tonight at 5:00 and following the dinner the adults who are not involved in other ministry activities well meet in the Sanctuary for prayer. There are children’s activities and teen activities.

Thursday March 24 and Friday March 25 – Holy Week Services at the J Bar J Country Church an noon both days – the services will be followed at 12:30 by a dinner for all who wish to join in.

Resurrection/Easter Sunday, March 27 – Here is our schedule

6:45 a.m. – Sunrise Service at the Prayer Pond – Pastor’s Marco & Betty Sanchez will be preaching and we will be joined by fellow believers from the Grace Harvest and Christ Community congregations.

7:30 a.m. – Breakfast in the gym – Our teens will be serving breakfast in the gym for everyone. This is a donation fundraiser as the teens are raising money for the youth group activities.

8:15 a.m. – Children’s Activities – We will have some special activities for our children including an egg hunt, a bounce house and a piñata!

10:00 a.m. – Combined Resurrection Celebration – We will have one combined worship service in the gym at 10:00 a.m. on this incredible day. Bring a friend and come celebration Resurrection.