Evangelism and Outreach

Here is an update on our Trunk or Treat outreach event. This year we offered a free picture to anyone who would agree to have their picture taken, courtesy of Don McDonald. Over 300 pictures were taken and 182 envelopes were prepared. Twenty three went to those who currently attend Walnut Street Baptist Church. 102 were mailed to those who attend other churches. Fifty seven envelopes were hand delivered to those who were looking for a church to attend.

Of the 102 that were mailed only one has been returned and is un-deliverable  This is a remarkable achievement. Hats Off  to those who provided the information and filled out cards and then typed them into a spreadsheet.

Of the 57 that were hand delivered. There were a few  that had to have addresses corrected. One person delivered to a fenced in home with large attack dogs in the yard. That one was mailed. At another home the picture was of a family member who had been visiting. They agreed to forward it on.

This is the face of evangelism and outreach. It takes time and it is not very smooth. The results are never guaranteed. Success is in knowing that we are following the Lords direction to share the message of the gospel with everyone. Hats Off to those who were able and stepped up to hand deliver the pictures. You were the face of Jesus.

We have at least two more opportunities for evangelism and outreach this year.  Everyone has an opportunity to participate. Invite and bring someone with you to the Christmas Cantata on December 16th. And then, do the same for the Christmas Eve service.  To whom will you reflect the face of Jesus?

 We Labor Together with God,

Psalm 90 A prayer of Moses (NLT)

A prayer of Moses, the man of God.

Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.

You turn people back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, you mortals!”
For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.
They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
We wither beneath your anger;
we are overwhelmed by your fury.
You spread out our sins before you—
our secret sins—and you see them all.
We live our lives beneath your wrath,
ending our years with a groan.

10 Seventy years are given to us!
Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away.
11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.

13 O Lord, come back to us!
How long will you delay?
Take pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
16 Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful!

What? Open Thanksgiving Day

What has happened to all of our holidays? Have they all become as Scrooge depicts Christmas, “… a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket  ….” ? I’m beginning to think so. An article titled, “Why Are Retailers Ruining Thanksgiving?” discusses the current trend of retailers to “commercialize every single holiday .”

When it comes to Thanksgiving they are putting pressure on our sacred tradition of indulging in an oversized dinner and spending the rest of the afternoon napping and loafing around watching football! With the explosion of on-line sales the “brick and mortar” and “big box” stores are only looking for their share of the economic pie. But, what about family values and tradition and mom and apple pie? Have these greedy corporate trolls no shame?

Well consider this: From 2003 ‑ 2011 the biggest on‑line shopping day has been Thanksgiving Day. Also the stores that opened on Thanksgiving experienced a 22% increase in Black Friday weekend business over those who honored traditional store hours. Evidently food, football, and naps are not all that important for many of us.  The bottom line is that we have no one to blame but ourselves and our neighbors. If we did not walk through the doors their doors would remain locked.

I do empathize with those who must gobble down the turkey and stuffin’, abandon the family gathering, and head off to the chaos. And, I believe I have staggered onto a solution of sorts. If it is true that retailing is a lot like herding, if one store is open on a holiday then every store will follow, the opposite must be true.

If we all stayed home on Thanksgiving Day, and on Friday refused to leave our humble abodes before the rising of the sun, they would reconsider their wily ways and we would all be happy!

Right, when have we ever, all been happy at the same time?

We Labor Together with God,

Focus on Missions or Worship

This Sunday in Sunday School I will facilitate a discussion from Acts 13 and 14. In the passage Paul & Barnabas are set apart and set sail to share the good news. This trek  is often referred to as, “Paul’s First Missionary journey.“

Questions I will ask are, “How are worship and church growth related? Do you think these missionaries would have been called without their being a vibrant worship experience? What do we learn about God from this? Which would you say is more important‑missions or worship?

In the discussion of the last question I intend to throw this in the mix. It is from “Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions.” John Piper.

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.

Worship is  the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white‑hot enjoyment of God’s glory.

Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish.

Missions begins and ends in worship

My conclusion is that the more mission minded a congregation is, the more dynamic their worship experience on Sunday morning.

What do you think?

Halloween in Carbondale

Previously my most vivid memory of Halloween in Carbondale was watching a SIU
student dressed as Baby Hughey climb to the top of a traffic signal and then
crawl across to the middle of Highway 13, attempting to dodge cans and bottles
being hurled at him. Such was Halloween in Carbondale during the 1980’s.

Those recollections have been replaced these last few years with our annual Trunk
or Treat night coordinated by Jenny Hertter.

Here are some facts and figures from last week’s Trunk or Treat.

  • 17 cars were decorated with a biblical theme and provided information about our church.
  • 400 bookmarks were distributed with our name, time of services, and phone number
  • 120 pencils were given away with a reminder of God’s love
  • 269 teddy bears were given to small children
  • 585 Bibles were given to children and another 23 were given to adults.
  • 325 pictures were taken
  • Lots of chili was consumed and 72 hotdogs were devoured by those participating.
  • 45 families identified themselves as prospects
  • Also, one child reported at school the next day that having his picture taken at our Trunk or Treat made his day!

We cannot measure the success of Trunk or Treat merely by the numbers. In fact
the impact of our efforts Wednesday night for the Kingdom of God may never be fully known this side of eternity.

Hats off and thank you Walnut Street Baptist Church!

We Labor Together with God,