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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

We Are the Body 3/19/14

I am still thanking God for the incredible weekend that we had with Tim Green.  We were reminded that “we” are the Body of Christ.  We are a part of this together and God is doing something incredible in us and with us and through us.

Sunday afternoon I dropped Tim off at the airport in Roswell and when he got out of the car he reminded me to “finish his story” from the second service on Sunday morning.  He started off the sermon telling us about the defining moment in his life.  It had to do with a young man named Michael who was a teenager who started coming to the youth group where Tim was a youth pastor right out of college.  Michael was not your typical church teenager; in fact, each Wednesday night when he came to the youth group his clothes reeked of the smell of Marijuana.  Finally at one point Tim, the youth pastor, was told that he needed to tell Michael that he wasn’t “welcome” at church.  He said that he knew that his ministry and future there at the church were probably on the line if he didn’t do it. 

He told us that he prepared the speech; he even went so far as to write it down and he memorized it.  Then he sat Michael down and began to recite what he had written down.  It was at this point in the sermon on Sunday that Tim switched gears and went another direction, fully intending to come back to the story and finish it.  He told us that when he got back to the house and was changing clothes that it hit him that he hadn’t finished the story.  He said that at the end of the sermon he looked at the clock and knew that he needed to finish the sermon and completely forgot to finish the story.  So he told me to please go ahead and finish it in my Wednesday email, so that is what I’m doing.

As Tim sat down across from Michael he started the prepared speech he had written, fully intending to tell Michael that this wasn’t the place for him and he said that he stopped and realized what he was doing.  He ended up telling Michael that they were so glad that he was coming to the youth group and that if he could do anything for him he wanted him to know that he would.  The end of the story is that today Michael is a pastor in the Church of God Anderson.  It was truly the defining moment in his life and ministry.

I want to encourage you again to go to the link that I sent out yesterday from Korey and download the sermons from this past weekend, and especially if you didn’t have the chance to be here.  I told you on Sunday in both services that I felt like this weekend was a defining weekend in the life of Angus Church.  I’ve had a couple of people come to me and ask me what we were going to do now with what we have been given.  I am having breakfast with a couple of our men and we will no doubt talk some about what Tim shared with us and what it means to us.  I have already begun to put together a list of names that I would like to sit down with and talk about where we go from here.  I think there is so much more to this than just another weekend meeting bringing in a special speaker and then going on as we have up to this point. 

What does God want to do with you . . . with us . . . in you and through you . . . in us and through us?  We have talked a lot about what it means to be a part of the Body of Christ and how it affects our philosophy of ministry here.  I don’t want to be content to just do what we’re doing.  I don’t want to settle for what’s already done or already begun.  I believe that God has something new, something fresh for us, something that will challenge us to be more like Christ every day!  I STILL believe that Puerto Esperanza is a part of that, but at this point that is still in the future and I believe the challenge is for now.  In fact, at breakfast we talked about the fact that if we don’t sit down and try and figure out what this means now then chances are we won’t . . . at all.  Please pray with me about this.

Let me remind you that we talked about this three weeks ago and Tim hit it again on Sunday morning.  It is in 1 Corinthians 12, beginning in about the 12th verse and culminating in the 27th verse:  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  Let me remind you of the meaning of that word “you.”  In Tim’s vernacular it is “Now ya’ll are the body of Christ, and each one of ya’ll is a part of it.” 

We are in this together.  It isn’t the staff that is going to bring about the change that God is ready to implement.  It isn’t the Board members and the staff; it isn’t those who are working in some capacity somewhere in the church.  We are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER – WE NEED EACH OTHER – WE ARE ALL A PART OF THIS.

I want to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you weren’t here this weekend; you are still a part of this.  I want to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you missed one or more of the services, you are still a part of this.  Really, we are all still a part of this.  I want to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done anything up to this point except come and sit in the seats and take it in, we are all a part of this.  You may only be a little finger in the Body of Christ, but for those of us in the first service on Sunday that has a new meaning.  (And I hope you know that I italicized the word “only” on purpose . . . there is NO “only.”)  You are a vital part of the Body of Christ. 

If you get mad and walk away, the Body hurts.  If you are hurting and struggling, the Body is hurting and struggling.  If you are missing, then part of the Body is missing.  And if you don’t think that you are important, that you are such an “only” part, a pinky finger, a big toe, an ear or a nose, then talk to that person whose pinky has been cut off, or who lost their big toe.  Think about how much it hurts when you hit your thumb with a hammer – your WHOLE BODY suffers when that happens. 

Could I invite you, could I encourage you, don’t walk away; don’t just decide not to do your part; don’t just drop out; please, please, please don’t think that you aren’t important, because YOU ARE VITAL!  Remember, “ . . . those parts of the body that seem to be weaker and indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. . . .  But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:22-25). 

I believe there is a Michael in all of our lives who is waiting for our defining moment!

I love you . . . really, I do.  Really!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Tonight, Wednesday March 19 – We have dinner at 5, with regular teen and children’s activities this evening.  The Hispanic Bible study will be meeting in Marco & Betty’s office, prayer in the sanctuary at 6:00 and the Men’s Bible study will meet at 7.

Friday and Saturday March 21-22 – The teens will be going to Clovis for the District Activity Days

Sunday March 23 – We will begin a study of Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae in our morning worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m.  Our Hispanic service meets at 4:00 p.m.

Sunday March 30 – Our teens are going to be having a special fundraiser dinner here at the church Sunday afternoon March 30 at 5:30 p.m.  The teens are raising money to go to the Regional Activity Days at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego at the end of May.

April 4-6 – NM District Women’s Retreat at Bonita Park

April 18 – We will celebrate the Passover with a Passover Seder led by Valarie Moody.  This will be a very special evening and tickets are available

April 20 – RESURRECTION SUNDAY – We will celebrate Easter and the Resurrection with an incredible day of celebration.  We will have our sunrise service at the Prayer Pond at 6:15 a.m., breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and a Resurrection Celebration at 9:30 a.m. in the gym!

April 25-27 – NM District Man Camp at Bonita Park



He Knows My Name 3/12/14

In the book of Exodus God has Moses lead the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to His Holy Mountain.  God calls Moses up on the Mountain to give him the Ten Words, among other things, directions, instructions and it is there on the Mountain that Moses is allowed to see God’s back.  But while he was up on the Mountain the people got tired of waiting and made their own image of God and so God punished them.  In the 33rd chapter, after all of this has taken place God tells Moses, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.  But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”

I love the translation of the Bible, The Message, because it is so real, it speaks to us in today’s language.  In the 12th verse Moses pleads for God’s help, “[God], you tell me, Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me . . .”  Then, in the 16th verse he asks God, “Are you traveling with us or not?”

Now it is interesting in the middle of that chapter the author tells us, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”  What an incredible relationship.  Moses tells God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us from here” (vv. 11, 15, NIV).  And God says to Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. . . .  I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Wow!  Max Lucado captures the scene in his book It’s Not About Me.  Moses knew what God could do; the entire Ancient East knew!  They were still talking about Aaron’s staff becoming a snake and the Nile becoming blood.  Air so thick with gnats you breathed them; ground so layered with locusts you crunched them; noonday blackness; flesh landscaped with boils; funerals for firstborn.  God turned the Red Sea into a red carpet; manna fell; quail ran; water gushed out of a rock.  Moses knew what God could do.

But Moses found the people dancing around a golden calf, their memories of God as stale as yesterday’s manna.  He carried the handwriting of God on a stone, and the Israelites were worshiping a piece of metal.  It was more than he could take.  He melted the metal cow and pounded the gold into dust and forced the worshipers to drink it.  God was ready to be done with them and start over with Moses, but twice Moses pleaded for mercy and twice mercy was extended.

I want to ask you if you know that God knows you by name?  Do you?  Well, He does!  He knows you and He loves you and His mercy and His grace are extended to you and to me.  We’re no better than they are, no smarter and certainly not more holy.  If anything we’ve perfected the art of dancing around the golden calves that we’ve set up.  And sometimes, not always, but sometime, those golden calves are not bad things, they just aren’t the best thing.  Sometimes we want the things of God.  Sometimes, we want a favor from God.  Sometimes, we want what we want.  But listen to this statement that Max Lucado makes:  WHEN OUR DEEPEST DESIRE IS NOT THE THINGS OF GOD, OR A FAVOR FROM GOD, BUT GOD HIMSELF, WE CROSS A THRESHOLD.

Are you still looking for things from God, even the things of God?  Are you waiting for a favor from God?  Have you decided that God needs to do this or that, move this way or that way, meet your expectations?  Even good, or wonderful expectations?  OR IS YOUR DEEPEST DESIRE FOR GOD, JUST GOD? 

I want to challenge you today to cross the threshold, to get past what you want or what you think God should be doing, or what we should be doing, or what the church should be doing, or what the board should be doing, or what ANYONE should be doing and today desire God.  I want to tell you that more than we need the touch of God, we need God; more than we need the things of God, we need God; more than we need the blessings of God, we need God; more than we need help from God, we need God; more than we need answers from God, we need God; MORE THAN WE NEED ANYTHING, WE NEED GOD!  And when we cross that threshold I think we’re going to find that God is all we need.

I love you

Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday March 12 – We have dinner at 5 p.m. this evening and everyone is invited.  We are going to have a baptismal service tonight over at the pool at the Camp ground at 6:00 p.m.  We have a number of teens and children and adults that will be baptized tonight.  Come out and CELEBRATE this incredible demonstration of what God is doing!

Friday March 14 – Tim Green will be here with us for the weekend.  We have a service this evening at 6:30 p.m.  Come out and be a part of something that will be life-changing!

Saturday March 15 – Tim Green will be speaking twice today – 10:00 a.m. in the gym and 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.  Don’t miss this!

Sunday March 16 – Tim Green will be speaking in both of our worship services on Sunday morning.  God will be here to meet needs.  Our Hispanic congregation will have their regular service at 4:00.  God will be here to meet our needs!

Please continue to pray for Dave Brooks as he learns how to do the dialysis that he will need. 

DON’T MISS OUR WEEKEND WITH TIM GREEN, FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY!



Being the Body 2/26/14

Most of you know, but just in case, we found out about a week ago that our daughter-in-law is pregnant with our second grandchild.  If you thought I was obnoxious before I suppose I’m going to get worse now.  In all seriousness, new life is incredible.  I love children in all shapes and sizes.  Yesterday I had the privilege of helping out at the Food Distribution here in our gym and I was going around talking with everyone and making small talk with the children and after a few minutes one of the mom’s got up and was taking her son, Colby, back to see Frank and get a haircut!  Well Colby walked over by me and I stopped him and asked him his name, how old he was (he is 5) and how he was!  He said he was good!  I asked him if he was married and he assured me that he wasn’t and so I asked him if he had a girlfriend and he told me no.  I reached over and shook his hand and to my compete surprise Colby reached out with both arms to hug me!  I was overwhelmed and taken aback for a few moments but I reached out and hugged him (making sure it was okay with his mom) and he “hugged the stuffing out of me!”  (Sorry Lauren, I just couldn’t say it!) IT MADE MY DAY!  I was there to help those folks and I got the greatest blessing/payment that anyone could ever get.

It made me think about what we’re doing here and I have to tell you it made me feel so good.  There were a lot of folks who came to get food.  I got to help about 12-15 families get the food that we had for them and every one of them, every single one of them were so grateful, so thankful and many of them took the time to tell me how much this helped them.  For some there was a definite language barrier; I don’t speak much Spanish.  (Maybe I need to take Betty’s Spanish class on Fridays . . . )  I asked Frank how I could tell them “God bless you” and he just told me to say “Via Con Dios” which means “Go with God.”  (He also told me how to respond if they responded back with the same phrase, but I’ve already forgotten what that was.)  Oh but the smiles, the “thank you’s” and the grateful, heartfelt attitudes made me smile and stop to thank God for the privilege of helping those wonderful, wonderful people. 

It also got me to thinking about our emphasis this past month on the Body of Christ.  Each week of the month of February we had a different speaker on Sunday mornings, Korey Frazier the first week who shared with us about the open door that Christ sets before us (and you can be assured that one of those open doors takes place the second and fourth Tuesday’s of the month when we distribute food).  John Rivas who gave too many of us a new designation for those “special” people in our lives, the DDO’s, (sorry, if you don’t know what that means you’re gonna have to listen to his sermon online or get a CD from Shelly), but he also talked to us about the diversity we find in the Body of Christ.  The third week our DS was here and Dr. Huff talked to us about how we make a difference for Christ in our world.  Then Randy capped it off last Sunday in such an amazing word from God on the fact that everyone of us, every single one of us, are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, every day, where we work, where we shop, where we walk, where we talk! 

I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon and I’ll email it to you in the morning so you’ll get this on Wednesday.  Every Tuesday I can I get together with the pastors over in Capitan; it is such a rich fellowship.  Over the last few weeks it has been especially rich and God has impressed upon me that it doesn’t matter what my agenda is, He WILL use me every day if I will just let Him.  So, as we have finished our breakfast on Tuesdays and as we pray together, I have been purposefully asking God to help me to listen carefully to Him during the day and be ready when He speaks.  I had a couple of interruptions this morning, and I KNOW it was God.  Wow, I am thankful that He considers me worthy enough to use me.  And then there was Colby – that hug is gonna last me for weeks!  And then there is just a few minutes ago – I went into town to write this, got away at one of my favorite “haunts” where I can just concentrate and be alone, and lo and behold, there were some friends.  There were some new friends, (I had just met them because they came to get a box of food – I got a great big smile and a cheery “hello!”)  There were some old friends, some that I’ve known for almost the full 10 + years we’ve been here.  And one of those friends asked if they could sit down and talk for a few minutes.  I’m not going to go into it because that was between me and them, but it was one of those God whispering moments, and I’m SO, SO, SO, SO grateful that I prayed that prayer this morning and that I was listening. 

I want you to know that I love you.  I consider it a privilege that many of you on this email list let me be your pastor.  I know that I blow it from time to time; I know that I have failed some of you, maybe many of you, before, but you still give me the privilege of being your pastor.  And that puts me in a position where Colby can give me a great big hug and someone will sit down and say “Hey, I need to talk.”  Thank you.

Now can I remind you of what Randy told us all last Sunday?  And, by the way, if you missed that sermon, YOU HAVE GOT TO EITHER LISTEN TO IT ONLINE OR GET THE CD because it was amazing!  God is waiting to use everyone of us; every single one of us are ministers of the gospel and God has something in mind for you.  He wants to whisper in your ear and use you in someone’s life.  He wants you to be available to have someone walk into your day, interrupt you and let you minister to them.  And if you’re lucky, if you are blessed, every once in awhile there is going to be a Colby in your life who is gonna just surprise the fire out of you and “hug the stuffing out of you!”  I wish you could see the smile on my face right now – no, what I really wish is that you’d let God use you so He could put that smile on your face!  I love you.

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday February 26 – THERE ARE NO TEEN OR CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES AT CHURCH TONIGHT AND NO PRAYER TIME!  The Hispanic Bible Study will meet and the Men’s Wednesday Study group will meet AT 6:00 p.m. TONIGHT!

Saturday March 1 – If you are interested there will be a special showing of the new movie “Son of God” over in Alamogordo at the Movie theaters at 11:00 a.m.  All are invited to attend.

Sunday March 2 – A few weeks ago God gave me the message I’m going to be preaching this Sunday morning in both services; “Solve Our Problems But Save Our Pigs.”  Jesus encountered an unusual situation that Matthew records for us in Matthew 8:28-34.  I’ve been ruminating on this for about 3 weeks and I’m still not quite sure where all it’s gonna go, but I want to invite you to be here and let’s look at it.

March 14-16 – Tim Green is going to be with us for that weekend.  Oh I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this.  I know that for some of you it might be out of your comfort zone to come to special services on a Friday evening, Saturday morning and then evening as well, but this guy is an incredible man of God and when he preaches he brings the Word of God alive.  We are privileged to have him with us for that weekend and I want to encourage you to make a special effort to be here and be a part of that weekend.  He will be with us on Friday evening at 6:30, Saturday morning we’re gonna have a very casual, relaxed time with a continental type breakfast in the gym and just let him do some teaching.  He’ll preach again on Saturday evening at 6:30 again and then he’ll be in both worship services on Sunday morning.  It’s gonna be GREAT!

I love you