Your Plans for the Summer

The coming Memorial Day weekend is the official kickoff of summer! I believe this is the last week for almost all of the area schools. Unfortunately the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day becomes secondary to the summer kickoff.

Memorial Day was created as an occasion to honor those who have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom. It is our opportunity to stop and give thanks for the many that have died protecting that freedom. I hope you will take time during your busy weekend to do just that.

With the beginning of summer many churches pull back and plan for the “summer lull”. You know what I mean; everything slows down because everyone is headed off on their summer holidays.

Well … we may get hit with the “summer lull’ but we refuse to plan for it. In fact, this is going to be an exciting summer of worship, fellowship, serving, teaching, and sharing the gospel. Read on and you will see some of the plans we have in store for this summer!

I encourage you, when you are in town to make it a priority to be in worship on Sundays. When you have guests visiting make it a priority to bring them with you. When you have plans for Sunday afternoon don’t skip out early. Make it a priority to be here for the complete worship service.   After all, you are not walking out on me. When you are out of town on Sunday make worship a priority wherever you are and bring me a bulletin. When you do miss worship make it a priority to fulfill your financial responsibility before you leave.

We Labor Together With God

Why Aren’t More People In Your Small Group

Wednesday I viewed a webcast hosted by LIFEWAY entitled “Why Aren’t More People In Your Small Groups”. Several of LifeWay’s top dawgs (Ronnie Floyd, Eric Geiger, and Ron Edmundson) presented a challenging goal of connecting unconnected people, strengthening families, and discipling people through small groups.

To assist in achieving this goal LifeWay is re-launching its most popular line of ongoing Bible study curriculum for use in churches beginning this fall: Bible Studies for Life.

This summer our Sunday school leaders will receive an overview of the positive changes this new series brings. Because it will present the same topic in each age group, each Sunday, allowing for family discussion each week, I am recommending that ALL of our Sunday school classes use this series beginning this Fall.

Eric Geiger presented three reasons from LifeWay Research why there are not more people in our small groups. At Walnut Street Baptist Church we identify our small groups as Sunday school.

Reason 1: Most church members don’t believe small groups are important in our church.

Reason 2: People don’t believe small groups are that important to them. Their life is already full and they need to make connections and see how the Bible passage applies right now, today.

Reason 3: They have not yet been invited to attend a small group.

Small groups (Sunday school) is important at Walnut Street Baptist Church. Our Sunday School teachers strive to make Bible study relevant, applicable, and fun. And, if you have never been invited to attend one of our small groups on Sunday morning I present you with a personal invitation right now.

Further, if you have questions about Sunday school please communicate with me. I am always glad to sit down with a cup of coffee, a cup of “Cool Spoons frozen yogurt”, and/or a Wendy’s sandwich and discuss Sunday school!

All Creation Groans

For sure, I am not the only one confused by this roller coaster Spring. Erik Raymond, pastor of Emmaus Bible Church, Omaha, NE, authors the blog, “Ordinary Pastor”, shares this very biblical insight.

A couple of days ago we had to turn on the air conditioner in the house. The temperature outside was over 80 degrees and the temperature inside was nearing the same. This I did even though it bristled against my prideful resolution to wait until May to activate the arctic cool. Less than 48 hours later we were in a Winter Storm Warning. You can’t predict this stuff.

I read where someone said this is like Narnia before Aslan, always winter and never Christmas. Well, maybe not quite that bad. This type of thing is not unprecedented in Omaha (or other cooler climates). It actually snowed 2″ on May 9, 1945. I heard recently of a town in Colorado getting snow on the 4th of July.

This type of exaggerated fluctuation helps to remind us of the instability of the world around us. Paul tells us that the creation groans (Rom. 8.22). We witness unpredictable wind, floods, hurricanes, tornados, heat, and cold. Amid the weather whiplash of the last few days we join the chorus with creation awaiting the final liberation and restoration through Christ. Until then we groan in the slush alongside of the wilted tulips.                                    —-  www.ordinarypastor.com

In the midst of creation’s instability we find in God’s ever present presence our refuge and strength. A mighty fortress is our God! (Psalm 46).

We Labor Together With God,

I’m Sad!

 

sad-face

The United Nations declared March 20 as the first International Day of Happiness and I missed it. That’s Life!

What specifically makes you happy? Why? How do you make others happy?  

Join us Sunday morning at 10:15. We will look at what it takes to be happy. See you Sunday!

 

 

Imagine … What God Can Do

As you know I am ready to move out to Walnut Lane, yesterday! I have been making personal financial plans to continue doing my part in this process. Not only have I considered my consistent contributions to the building Fund BUT also my continuing responsibility for Walnut Street Baptist Church’s daily expenses. All members of Walnut Street Baptist Church share equally in that responsibility.

We cannot support one without the other. As a result, in addition to Debbie’s and my personal obligations, which include a child in college, we are making personal sacrifices in order to increase both our general fund and building fund contributions. We already contribute much more than a tithe through Walnut Street Baptist Church. The only reason I am sharing this personal information with you is to let you know that we want to lead in giving by example in giving.

I do not wish to offend anyone, or coerce anyone in their giving. However I do pass along the Apostle Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Cor. 9:7 (NLT)

I extend my very deep appreciation for all (members and friends) who support our ministries and all the necessary support systems that are required to provide quality ministries in our communities, especially in these difficult economic times. In a very real sense we all live on fixed incomes. So we are all in the same place.  Even so, giving is something everyone can do. The size of the gift does not matter. It is not equal gift, but equal sacrifice. Imagine … What God Can Do!