What will be said about the 30th General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene?

One year from now, the 2023 General Assembly (GA) of the Church of the Nazarene will be in the books and we will be in our churches discussing the events of the past week. Clearly writing from a North American perspective, the church I currently see is divided like never before. Will a GA expose these divides and bring healing or gloss over them as they continue to fester?

The Board of General Superintendents (BGS) had a difficult decision on even convening the 30th General Assembly. Covid is still a real thing (take it from me, I had Covid last week). Delegates from some world areas will have great difficulty in obtaining a visa. As such, in many world areas, districts will be voting not for the most qualified from their district to be a delegate but from those who are available (with visa in hand). The result will be less world representation, possibly a less qualified and a more-North American-centric assembly. 

In spite of these problems, the BGS made the right decision. In each of the last several assemblies, a resolution has been submitted to move GA from four years to five, and every time it’s been rejected.  GAs are expensive and a logistical monstrosity is the argument, but the delegates have repeatedly said that moving to every five years will lessen our relationships and widen any divides that might exist. Thanks to Covid, the validity of the anti-five-year-assembly argument will be shown as it will have been six years since the last GA. The BGS has seen that our church family (like all families in the pandemic) has been shaken. We need to gather.

The theme chosen, “Jesus is Lord,” seems to indicate that the BGS recognizes the divides and hope to bring unity by getting the church back to the basics. It’s like the old football story of how legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, after a loss held up a football and said “This, boys, is a football.” The General Superintendents appear to be doing the same for the church as they hold up a banner that says: Jesus is Lord. 

I hope it works. Our family is teetering. Factions are gathering. Newsletters are sent. Blogs (ahem) are written. Social media is not anyone’s friend. The pandemic and our six-year gap have hurt us. Unity is essential to our church. As we watch the United Methodist church implode, one needs no prophetic anointing to see the same thing happening in the Church of the Nazarene if we do not gather and come together in unity. Nothing is more uniting than “Jesus is Lord.” It is the most basic of the essentials. 

What will we be saying about the 30th General Assembly in one year? That depends entirely on the amount of prayers lifted this year. Pray cursory prayers and we will further divide. Pray fervent and intentional prayers and the Holy Spirit just might bring revival to our old church and rekindle the flame of Christ. The world still needs a strong, biblical, holiness message and a united church delivering it. If we can’t do it, God will raise up someone who can. Pray that we might unite around the ancient truth that Jesus is Lord and set about making Christ-like disciples in the nations. 

Basketball Lingo in Church

With the end of the basketball season in sight (maybe next year Pistons), here are a few terms in basketball world and their usage in the church world too:

Alley-oop: Teens caught behind the church skipping the worship service. 

Center: Only allowable placement of the communion table in the front of the sanctuary. Don’t even think of moving those plastic flowers given in memory of Grandma Smith in 1994. They are Center too.

Dribble: Communion cup failure.

Double dribble: When a worshipper’s spouse likewise spills his/her communion juice.

Double Double: How many scoops of ice cream is permitted at the church social.

Dunk (Baptist version): The only baptism method allowed.

Dunk (Episcopal version): Communion by intinction, please.

Fast Break: Cheating during Lent.

Fouled Out: Potluck disaster when the chicken is gone. (Fowl? Foul? You know what I mean.)

Free Throw: A complimentary lap blanket made the by the senior ladies’ missionary society

Full court: A bride with six bridesmaids.

Half court: When three bridesmaids get sick from the shrimp cocktail at the Bachelorette Party.

Hoops: What the youth pastor has to jump though to get an increased ministry budget for “coffee with the kids.”

Lay Up: Clergy is down sick, who’s going to preach?

Opening tip: At the beginning of the sermon when the preacher indicates it’s going to be a long-winded affair.

Over and Back: The church hopper returns.

Pick and Roll: Grabbing a worship folder and promptly making a telescope out of it.

Point guard: The person who tallies the boys vs. girls’ competition in Vacation Bible School 

Power forward: The preacher is sick, but preaches a fiery message anyway

Rebound: After telling a groaner joke, the preacher tells a funny one.

Shirts vs. Skins: The potluck dilemma between eating more fried chicken skins or popping the buttons off your garments.

3 Pointer: The preacher’s sermon.

Travelling: What evangelists used to do.

(Rob’s Basketball Memory Lane: 14 years ago today, June 16, 2008, I was in the Boston Garden with my friends Dr. Larry and Lynn Bollinger and Rev. Rod Green watching the Boston Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship. I have never had more drunk Bostonians—not the Bollingers—hugging me following that game on the way out of the arena). 

What I learned about Sin and Temptation from the Cooper Hill’s Cheese Roll Competition

When a Christian succumbs to temptation, it’s not like stepping off a cliff. It’s more like what happens at the Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Competition. It’s running down the slippery slope after a meaningless prize that doesn’t end well.

Last week thousands of spectators and daring competitors descended upon Gloucestershire, England’s Cooper’s Hill for the traditional Cheese Rolling event that has occurred since the 1800s. The slope of Cooper’s Hill is so steep that very few contestants manage to stay on their feet, instead tumbling head-over-heels down the 200-yard-slope in a desperate effort to catch the coveted dairy prize – a weighty 8lb Double Gloucester. While the cheese can never actually be caught – with a brief head start, it soon reaches breakneck speeds – the Cheese Rolling winner is the first person to roll, run, or fall across the line at the bottom of the hill. Most of the people don’t make it down Cooper’s Hill unscathed. One year 33 competitors were treated for everything from splinters to broken bones!

How is this craziness like a Christian’s fall into sin?

A Christian doesn’t sign-up for sinful behavior like a competitor registering in the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll. There may be some thought of the consequences, but often not a lot. But neither does one fall into sin with an unknown or unlucky leap off a cliff. More often, sin begins as a simple meander down a destructive trail that the Christian knows is not good (the Holy Spirit is CERTAIN to issue a warning). They wander off anyway. Like at Cooper’s Hill, those falling into the Enemy’s trap start down the hill picking up speed as they chase after the meaningless temptation (usually not much more valuable than an 8lb. chunk of cheese). Very quickly, the misdirected Christian’s pace turns into a tumbling, bumbling, breakneck-impossible dive. Like what is known by the waiting ambulances at the bottom of Cooper’s Hill, a crash is inevitable. 

When gazing onto temptation’s slippery slope and dreaming of obtaining some not-much-better-than-cheese prize, the Enemy fails to tell that the “prize” stinks and the dangers are certain. They Enemy doesn’t tell of the heartaches and pain. Even if never found out, even if the Christian’s secret foray down this slippery slope stays secret, is the “prize” worth it? Instead of pleasure, riches or fame only guilt and hidden shame are the result. Living a lie is no “prize.”

I was not injured at the Cheese Roll Competition on Cooper’s Hill. Of course not, I was thousands of miles and an ocean away, sitting in my living room. I cannot fall down Cooper’s Hill if I am nowhere near it. It’s the same with sin’s slippery slopes. If you never enter the temptation’s downward grade, you can never be its prey. Don’t even start down the trial. Don’t look at the slope. Don’t rationalize the thrills. Don’t scheme on how it might be done. Listen to the Spirit and stay away. Stay far way. Stay an ocean away if possible.

Of course, you know all of this. You already know about the “slippery slopes” of sin, don’t you? You’ve heard plenty of sermons on the topic. Me too. So why tell you again? Because a friend of mine found out the hard way this week. He knew all about temptations, slippery slopes and falling into sin. He knew it all and went down the trail anyway. Some people are forever wounded. His life is wrecked. His family destroyed. The Enemy left that part of the story out too.

Garage Sale Evangelism

Our garage sale last Thursday and Friday was a success. Not moneywise. We won’t be heading off to Tahiti from the proceeds. I did get rid of a few things that have been cluttering up our house. Two old couches? Gone (sold one and gave the other one away to a good home). Two sets of box springs and mattresses? Gone. (not sold, gobbled up by the sanitation workers’ truck). Bongos? Gone. A walker that my mother-in-law no longer needs (given away to a husband for his needy wife). A few other things. Gone. It makes me want to sing this little ditty to the tune by Helen Griggs:

Gone. Gone. Gone. Gone,
Yes, my junk is gone.
Now my clutter is set free
And in my heart’s a song
Buried in somebodies’ home,
Not in my basement all alone.
I shall live with less to own.
Hooray!
My junk is G-O-N-E gone!

My junk being gone, gone, gone is not the best news from the garage sale. I got to talk to my neighbors. A lot of them. I asked one lady if we planned a “cul-de-sac barbeque” this summer, would she and her husband come? She said, “Sure, we’d love it!” 

I got to talk to the guy at the end of the cul-de-sac. Our next-door neighbor’s daughter bought one of the couches. I learned that a lady from Central church has children and grandchildren on the next street over. 

“Do they go to church?”
 “No.”
“Have you invited them to Central church?”
 “Yes.”
“Well, tell them their pastor is on the next street over.”

Now, Karla and I have somebody else to pray for as we go on our nightly walks. I hope they are outside soon so I can say “Hi,” and invite them to a BBQ too. There are a few others in our neighborhood that attend Central church. Some regularly. Some not so much. But now I know folks a little bit better. I know how to pray a little bit more. Karla and I will need to plan a “Central Church in neighborhood cookout” too. A “cul-de-sac cook out” and a “Central-in-my-neighborhood” cookout?  Why not. I like Koegels’ hot dogs on the grill.

We don’t need to go to Africa, Panama or across the world. I’ve got a mission field across the street. You do too. What are you doing to reach your neighbors for Jesus?  Jesus said, “Love your neighbor.” What if we took those words literally and started to be pro-active in loving our neighbors?  Don’t talk religion if you plan a party. Don’t talk politics either. Just make it fun. Get to know your neighbors. As the Lord (not you) opens the doors, you might have a chance to talk about faith. It might not happen during the first or second event. But keep being kind. Keep loving. Keep showing the grace and truth of Jesus. It takes time. 

But It’s worth it!  Wouldn’t it be great if that once cranky neighbor, finds Jesus, does a 180 and becomes so loving and kind that you ask St. Peter (or whoever handles the housing accommodations in the sweet-by-and-by) if you could be neighbors in your heavenly mansions too?

What’s Missing in our Society is Too Often Missing in our Churches 

“He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30). 

John the Baptist at the height of his popularity defers to Jesus and basically says, “It’s not about me, it’s about Jesus. I don’t need the spot light, Jesus does.” It’s a humility that, quite frankly, is missing too often in many of us who claim Christ.

We don’t have to be first. 
We don’t have to be best.
We don’t have to have our way.
We don’t have to have the last word.

We do have to be humbly faithful. (Key word: Humbly)

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). That’s humility. Humility is thinking of yourself in the same manner that you would think of anyone else. No more. No less. Humility isn’t listed in the Fruit of the Spirit. A Christ-like humility is the cumulative expression of the Fruit of the Spirit. In other words, the result of our displaying love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23) is a holy humility. Jesus said, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Mathew 11;29). It’s being like Jesus.

The Fruit of the Spirit = Holy Humility = Christ-likeness. They are all the same. 

Note: One can be humble without holiness, but one cannot be holy without humility. 
Humility without holiness is a welcomed surprise. 
Holiness without humility is impossible. 

We’ve lost humility in our culture. This lack of humility is pushing many to the edges. Those edges used to be called the “fanatical fringe.” No longer “fanatical,” this “I’m-right-you’re-wrong” arrogance and lack of humility is now mainstream and happening in all arenas of life (including the church). If the culmination of the Fruit of the Spirit is a holy humility; then the culmination of the acts of the flesh (also mentioned in Galatians 5—includes, but is not limited to, “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy”) is a fanatical, self-centered, anti-Christ-likeness and is all too common. 

One might expect those who have no allegiance to Jesus to think and behave in an arrogant manner, but not Christians, right? “Holiness” people invalidate their descriptor when they show the same lack of humility as those who make no claims about Christ. Peter wrote to first century church leaders: “Be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8). Paul told the people in Ephesus, “Be completely humble” (Ephesians 4:2). He could have said, “Be completely holy.” The best leaders are humble leaders. The best Christians are humble, holy Christians. It’s anti-cultural. It’s not the norm anymore. Humility is missing in our society and too often it’s missing in our churches too. 

A holy humility is the way of Jesus. Walk in the Way!

Why is Pentecost the least Celebrated Holiday of the Year?

Easter is a big deal. It should be. Jesus rose from the dead. Can’t get bigger than that. So we celebrate this universe-altering event by a bunny giving out colored eggs, baskets filled with goodies and eating Peeps. Of course, it all makes perfect sense to me.

Christmas is an even bigger deal (in many people’s minds). Think of it as the baby shower of the Christian faith, only everyone gets presents. Hooray. Christmas has even more traditions than Easter that have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ coming into the world. (Sorry Rudolph).

Pentecost seems like it is no deal at all. No baskets. No Presents. No special dinners. No parties. No time off from work. Nothing. For the average American church goer the following holidays are all bigger deals than Pentecost: 

  • Thanksgiving (except for Detroit Lions’ fans); 
  • Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day (Yahoo! Three day weekends are great!); 
  • Super Bowl Sunday (Gotta love football); 
  • Any Sunday with an NFL game (Gotta love even more football); 
  • Halloween (Forget tricks, gimme treats.), 
  • New Year’s Eve (Whew, we made one more trip around the sun), 
  • Mother’s Day (Don’t forget to call mama); 
  • St. Patrick’s Day (Green is keen); 
  • St. Valentine’s Day (Honey, will you marry me? Not original, but effective); 
  • Arbor Day (Trees, tress and more trees); 
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day (We still love three day weekends!), 
  • the birthday of your second cousin twice removed (What’s his name? Who cares? Pass the cake), 
  • practically any of the other 365 days on your calendar.

Pentecost gets the short end of the calendar stick. But Pentecost is a really big deal. It’s the day the Holy Spirit came supernaturally upon the 120 believers and transformed the rag tag bunch (most of whom had failed Jesus miserably less than a couple of months earlier) into the turn-the-world-upside-down Jesus champions, more commonly known as “The Church.” What happened on the original Pentecost is a bigger deal than most everything on the list above. Of course, Christmas and Easter are big deals (don’t @ me), but so is Pentecost. It’s a much bigger deal than any “holiday” in the third paragraph list (sorry mom, it’s true). 

Why don’t we celebrate Pentecost more? We will have a red cloth draping the cross, candles reminding us of the tongues of fire, and the reading of scripture in different languages. That’s it. That’s what will happen in the church building on Sunday to recognize that it’s Pentecost Sunday. But maybe the true Pentecost celebration is when the Church starts behaving in a manner that would make the first Pentecost celebrators proud. It’s when we help a neighbor, feed the hungry, and care for the needy. Pentecost is best celebrated when, like in Peter’s bold sermon, we proclaim the Savior and see a life (or 3,000 lives as in ol’ Pete’s case) transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. The Bible says all of heaven rejoices at this good news (See Luke 15). Heavenly Parties > Earthly holiday parties. Much greater!

You can have your blowing out of birthday candles (and spitting all over the cake that I’m about to eat); your Christmas fruit cake and Easter’s deviled eggs—I hope to celebrate Pentecost by telling someone about Jesus—the one who died and rose again!

The One Thing All Church Leaders Should Do on Their Summer Vacation

There are plenty of things a church leader could do on their summer vacation. Have someone lead a devotion while in the car. Listen to Christian music. Take a good Christian book to read on the beach or by the campfire. Watch a church service on-line. But the one thing all church leaders should do is find a church to attend on Sunday

You read that last point correctly. All the introverts reading this article just threw up. I’m not kidding, find a church. Go in. See what being a stranger is like. You’ll feel a little awkward. That’s OK. It might be a good service. But even if it’s not, you will definitely be a better follower of Jesus (and a better church leader) if you attend a church on vacation. Notice the signage and how easy it is to get around. Ask yourself, “Is the signage in my church helpful to a visitor?” You’ll see what to do (or not to do) when a visitor sits by you. Were the folks sitting by you friendly? Are you friendly to the visitors that happen to sit by you in church? Moreover, it’s worth taking the family to church on vacation because, in so doing, the message sent to your kiddos is that church, God and “remembering-the-Sabbath-and-keeping-it-holy” matters. 

One time on vacation, we attended a church in Ohio somewhere. It was pre-Google days and pre-GPS days. We had a catalog with all the Nazarene church locations in the entire country and a paper map. It was just before 11AM on a Sunday morning and we followed our map to a little church. Only the church building had been sold since the catalog was printed and it was now a Free Methodist Church (Free Methodists are good people, so we stayed). 

The church had maybe forty people. We were clearly visitors. During the passing of the peace time (pre-covid, of course), a lady in front of us turned around and asked if we were from the town. 

“No, we attend a Nazarene church in Michigan,” was our reply.

“Oh, the Free Methodists have much better preachers than the Nazarenes.”

I’m pretty sure, Karla was about to agree, but the lady quickly turned around and didn’t give any of us a chance for conversation. Maybe since we weren’t from there or weren’t Free Methodists, she didn’t want to waste her “pleasantries” on us. She began to greet others. No one else talked to us. Not. One. Person. Maybe that was one of the reasons that church only had 40 people in it.

Still I was reminded how important it is to notice visitors when they enter a strange building. I was taught that even if the visitor is a “one-timer,” they still might be exactly where God wants them. Maybe, just maybe, God has a divine appointment set up for that one-time only visitor. Maybe that divine appointment includes you. I didn’t get much out of the sermon, but I was taught a lot that Sunday. 

Church leaders need to know what it’s like to be a visitor. They need to constantly be asking, “What’s it like to be a newbie in our church? Are we friendly? Is it easy to find the restrooms, the worship area or the nurseries?” Good church leaders take an hour of their summer vacation to do a little reconnaissance to improve their home church.

Get out of the Church Building and Enjoy the Son (that’s not a typo)

The church has left the building. Literally. Last year Central Church had two outdoor services, on the 4th of July and on Labor Day Sunday. Both were big days. Worship service led from a semi-truck bed and fellowship times following. July 4th had free hot dogs. Labor Day we had food trucks. Pastor Joel and the band were like rock stars (in the best possible way) as they sang praises to Jesus. Prior to the Labor Day Sunday service, while the band was warming up, I went to our neighbors who were setting up a garage sale. I apologized for the noise and offered to buy their lunch from a food truck for the trouble. They gladly accepted the invitation for a free lunch and said music “noise” wasn’t a problem. They liked it.

During the service, Pastor Joel felt led to purchase their entire garage sale (It was mostly baby clothes) and donate everything to Little Lambs, the Nazarene compassionate ministry center that distributes baby clothing and other items. Pastor Joey approached our neighbor and asked how much money they would want for all of the stuff in the garage sale. $100 was the response. Joey offered them $200 and they were overwhelmed by the generosity. Of course, we bought their lunch as promised too. File that under: Be the Best Neighbors (That’s one of our Growing Together core commitments). But something even better began to happen at our 4th of July Sunday Service.

A neighbor from downtown the street heard the music. She came for a better listen and liked it. She called her daughter and they started coming to church. The daughter, Christina, now helps lead a Bible study at the local rescue mission.

During that service, another neighbor named Howard heard the music and walked down the street with his grandson, Trevor. They liked the music too. They returned on Labor Day Sunday for the next outdoor service. After that, Howard and Trevor started attending occasionally and two weeks ago, Howard and Trevor were baptized. If you just heard a noise, it might have been from the angels still rejoicing in heaven shouting, “Praise the Lord!”

Did you ask if our outdoor services are worth it?  Yes. Yes. Yes, they are. Not only does it give us a chance to meet our neighbors, sometimes it gives a chance for our neighbors to meet Jesus. We need to get out of our church buildings and enjoy the Son (that’s not a typo).

This Sunday is the first of our Central outdoor services (all three summer holiday weekends we will be outdoors). The service begins at 11AM. Bring a lawn chair and your Gospel of John Journal as we begin our summer series in John. (Don’t have a journal? No worries. Get your free copy this Sunday). Following the service, we will have free hotdogs, chips and bottled water and the Roaring Twenties Ice Cream Truck will be here for tasty treats to purchase. My weather app says it is supposed to be perfect weather on Sunday morning (oh oh… I hope I didn’t just jinx us. I don’t believe in jinxes, so we should be fine). It’s going to be a great day.

Who knows, maybe next spring (or even later this summer when we have a lakeside baptism), we will see another neighbor getting baptized.

Learning the Hard Way

What happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander? Do you remember these guys? Paul mentions them in his letters to Timothy.
 
Hymenaeus apparently was teaching a heresy that the bodily resurrection of the dead had already taken place which made everyone in the church a little upset. (See 2 Timothy 2:16-18). Alexander was a coppersmith who did a great deal of harm to Paul (See 2 Timothy 4:14-15). Paul says both fellows were “shipwrecked.” That’s not good. They were so far gone Paul writes, “I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” (I Timothy 1:18)
 
Would you ever say that about anyone? Seriously, would you ever hand someone “over to Satan”? I’ve just preached a whole series on helping those who feel like the “Odd Man Out” and said Jesus welcomes all. It’s “Odd Man (or Woman) In” with Jesus. Paul’s words don’t sound very “Odd-Man-In-ish.”
 
“Here, here, Mr. Satan, may I call you, Lucifer? Board member, Mr. Knows-It-All, has been giving me fits ever since I have arrived at this church. Since you are the expert, could you give them a lesson on the “why-nots” of blaspheme? I’m handing him over to you. He’s out.”
 
You would never ever say that. Me neither. So why did Paul?
 
Paul is speaking figuratively, not literally. No conversation between the Prince of Darkness and Paul took place. Instead, Paul, in effect, was saying, “These guys have decided to do life in their own strength, power and wisdom, so I guess they are gonna have to learn the hard way.” That’s how we’d put it: “They will learn the hard way.”
 
Learning the hard way is going at life alone; trying to push through tough times without seeking counsel from the Lord or anyone else; never picking up your Bible (or the danger for preachers: only picking up your Bible for sermon prep not for a “time with Jesus”). Learning things the hard way usually involves falling flat on your face. Learning the hard way is, well, hard.
 
Learning things the easy way is through listening to godly mentors, reading scripture, trusting the input of other believers, discerning the Holy Spirit’s voice. (Disclaimer: this doesn’t mean life is “easy.” We might learn the “easy way” that life is sometimes very hard. Disclaimer’s disclaimer: Learning the easy way during the hardships in life is a deep and blessed knowledge that Jesus is with us).
 
I don’t know if Hymenaeus and Alexander ever came around and saw their shipwrecked lives for what they were. I hope so. I also hope that none of us need to learn things the hard way. Instead be let’s open to God’s leading. Find a godly mentor and trust his/her wisdom. Read the Bible for your own nourishment, not to simply regurgitate scripture for someone else’s edification. Seek the Lord in all things.
 
The easy way to learn is the best way (duh!). I sure hope Hymenaeus and Alexander figured that out.
 

A day in the life of this pastor

  • Awake at 4:30AM. Up at 4:45AM.
  • Coffee and a bagel thin (Toasted. Butter and jelly. Strawberry, of course).
  • Devotions.
  • Read the news.
  • On Facebook long enough to wish friends “Happy Birthday,” but get off before seeing someone’s conspiracy theory or how a pastor in California is a dope.
  • Do Wordle. “Scour.” Three tries. (FYI… today’s Wordle took me six tries. Ugh!)
  • Work on sermon. Last “Odd Man In” sermon. (No spoiler alerts, just come on Sunday)
  • Exercise.
  • Pray while on elliptical and exercise bike.
  • Shower. 
  • Dress. 
  • Help take down the beds—new carpet installed in the bedrooms today.
  • Leave for the church.
  • Listen to Louis Armstrong, “What a wonderful world.”
  • Detour to Starbucks.
  • Get to church.
  • Talk with Deb, my super assistant, about events for the day and week.
  • Spill my mocha drink all over the floor.
  • Am I more upset that coffee spilled or that my $5.25 drink is now a big fat stain on the floor?
  • Try to clean it up. Deb helps too.
  • There’s still a stain. Ugh!
  • Call in the “dream team of clean.” (Our facility crew)
  • Apologize for being uncoordinated.
  • Quickly answer a few emails. 
  • Meet with Vi and Tim McIlvoy to discuss Del’s funeral. 
  • 95 years of life. 55 years of marriage.
  • Wore out four or five Bibles.
  • A great man went to heaven.
  • More emails and a few texts.
  • Leave for Brighton to have lunch with a pastor.
  • It’s pouring outside.
  • Head pounding.
  • Hope it doesn’t rain like this on Saturday for our IN FLINT work day. 
  • Will Panera’s cream of broccoli soup help my head? Can’t hurt. 
  • He shares.
  • I share.
  • Hope the conversation helped.
  • Back home to put up the beds on newly installed carpet.
  • Tigers on the TV while working.
  • Tigers lose (Shocker).
  • Find a house on Zillow that looks interesting. Hello Judy Cox.
  • Going to move? Probably not. Maybe. 
  • Supper: Soup and grilled cheese. (rainy days are soup-for-lunch-and-dinner days).
  • Back to the church. 
  • Try to figure out a closing song for the choir service with Nate.
  • Love divine all love excelling.
  • You can’t go wrong with a Charlie Wesley ditty.
  • Lizzy Benjamin sticks her head in to say “Hi.” There’s great teenagers at Central.
  • Go to the family center where people are eating Deb Pruitt’s tasty dinner (Italian and headaches isn’t a good combo. But it looks good).
  • Go from table to table talking with those gathered for dinner.
  • Dennis Johnson is doing great after so long in the hospital with Covid. A walking miracle.
  • Quay brought a toy truck. He’s letting Dennis Freeman play with it.
  • Jessica Roland, future missionary, did great the night before sharing with the church board her hopes and dreams.
  • Boston and Pastor Amanda are eating with some of our great teenagers.
  • Eat a piece of cake with Deb, Sam and Mary Ann.
  • Shhhh… I’m on a diet.
  • Meet with a young couple for pre-marriage counseling. Hope they have as happy a marriage as Vi and Del. I think they will.
  • Listen to tail end of choir practice. 
  • Did you hear that Dr. Joe Ewing died?  Funeral is Saturday. Joe was my dentist. I also used his Michigan Football tickets a time or two. He was a good man!
  • Say my good byes and head home.
  • Watch a little basketball then the Adam Project on Netflix with Karla. It’s so so. 
  • Bedtime.

Why the daily run down? Pastoring is full of many activities. Old folks. Young folks. Death. Life. Marriage. Worship planning. It’s a smorgasbord of life. That’s why I love it. Today will be different than yesterday. Whatever happens I hope Psalm 118 rings out true for you and me: This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24).