Yesterday saw some severe swings of emotion. It was the culmination of a full week with some dramatic, and traumatic, events in our community and personally. As for my musings …
-On Wednesday, this past week, at a little after 5:30 pm a large explosion ripped through our downtown square. It was the result of a natural gas leak that was being repaired when it erupted. It originated behind an office building and blew up an addition to the building and ripped straight through the building and out the front wall. Windows were shattered for a few blocks and there was structural damage in several buildings. The building that blew up housed a Pregnancy Resource Center in which my wife works on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They had just moved to this space 5 weeks earlier. Everything in the center is destroyed. Everyone who works in the center is safe. They were all gone and only one person, who works in another office, was still in the building when it blew. He was injured but is healing. Sadly, one of those working to repair the leak was killed. As you can imagine the town is reeling from this event. The town is rallying around people and businesses including the Pregnancy Center.
-Being part of a community that comes together in prayer, in serving, in caring and giving is a powerful and beautiful thing.
-I had been processing a sermon from the 23rd Psalm for a few weeks and 2 or 3 weeks ago, decided that yesterday was the right Sunday to preach it. That was without having any idea how timely it would be to present this sermon. God knew and was directing my study and plans, thanks be to God.
-At both my 9:00 and 10:30 churches it was obvious by the reactions, and the conversations after, that the message resonated with people.
-My 9:00 church had very low attendance. The 10:30 church was a little above their average.
-I have a whole new appreciation for the imagery, and truth, of the 23rd Psalm. The picture of the good shepherd guiding, protecting, healing, providing and the peace that this produces overwhelmed me this past week.
-I was studying for this sermon when the explosion took place. My wife and I were at church when we heard a boom of some kind and felt the building shake. My wife asked if a car or truck had run into the church building. I got up and walked around the building but saw nothing. A few minutes later we learned that there had been an explosion on the downtown square, that was the noise we heard and why we felt something. Keep in mind that we were more than a mile and a half away from the blast.
-I received a positive comment from a parishioner about yesterday’s sermon, they said that they had never recognized some of the things in the 23rd Psalm that I shared. I believe it is the first time this person has ever commented to me about a message.
-We had more new people in attendance at my 10:30 church yesterday. I love seeing people bringing people to church with them.
-In my reading time this morning I came across this from Mark Batterson in “The Circle Maker”, “So quit wasting your worries. Redeem them by recycling them. Turn them into prayers.”
-A couple of days ago I came across this gem in Kyle Idleman’s “The End of Me”, “To do is to take some action. To be requires real transformation.”
-I finally have my Christmas series figured out and laid out. It is entitled “Pieces of Christmas, or The Peace of Christmas”. Too often we get caught up in too many things around the Christmas season. The result is we only catch pieces of the beauty of Christmas and miss the real Christmas story. The true meaning of Christmas produces peace that changes lives. So we have a choice. We can either snag a piece of Christmas here or there and miss the meaning. Or, we can embrace and be embraced by the Peace of Christmas and be changed. Each message will look at a character, or group of characters in the Christmas story and examine how they reached past the pieces of Christmas and embraced the Peace of Christmas.
-My fantasy football team has a chance to win this week. It comes down to the Monday night game and we each of 2 players in the game.
-We received great news on Thursday. Our son and his family arrived safely in Central Africa Republic where they will begin their new ministry. Communication will likely be rare while they are in this location, so we were thrilled to get this word.
-I am excited to spend some time with our daughters, sons in law and half of our grandkids for Thanksgiving.
Here’s hoping that you find much to be thankful for this week and that you will remember that you are loved and prayed for often.