August 25, 2008

Yikes, I am First Time Visitor!

Note: During Sabbatical this is a personal journal that briefly shares a diary of my day with a few thoughts...don't expect good writing or profound wisdom.

Got up early to spend intense time with Jesus. Primarily focused in the end of Luke and the first 8 chapters of John.

Went to Grace Bible Church of Vernon...interesting church...just had merged with another church and the Associate Pastor Bob Cowert was preaching his farewell sermon and sharing about his relocation to Honduras. The message was on the importance of gathering together from Hebrews 10:19-25 with an emphasis on small group gatherings....he wanted to encourage the people to devote themselves to one another. It's a church trying to transition from the 90's to 2008. It was 90% full (300 seats) and seemed to have a buzz...75% of the church was over 60 years old...but to their credit the whole worship team was under 35. So I believe this church will turn the corner and flourish because it opening itself up to the next generation.

Worship was sincere but much too quiet and unenthusiastic for my tastes...but that's me...and it didn't stop me from worshiping with delight in my God.

I love to experience what it feels like to visit a church for the first time....I am a professional church guy and it is a bit INTIMIDATING for me to visit for the first time. It impressed me with three's so important for friends to bring friends to church...then they don't have to feel alone on their first's so essential for the "regulars" to go out of their way to enthusiastically welcome newcomers. Pastors must make the first timers their priority, greeters must be genuine and outgoing, and the general church must take it on themselves to be God's heart extended...THREE...the good-byes are as important as the "hello's"...what's the last impression as a newcomer walks to the parking lot....between the arrival and the departure you are safe in your chair...but the arrival and departures are essential because that's when the guest is wondering...will I be accepted here?

Lord, help LLCF be "the people loving place"...not in word but in deed!

Came home and read, and Deb and I went to coffee shop in village (Bugaboos) and talked with the owner, master baker Frank, then hiked, and picked raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries...all wild. All drenched from the rain.

Came home, had a long talk with mom on the phone (going through chemo) and had dinner with the girls (the 4 female theologians) and had a good talk.
Read "The Shack" and went to bed.

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