Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Flashback

With this being July 4th weekend I asked three of our other pastors to tag team today and bring a message on Freedom. They gave Scriptural applications about freedom from family stress, financial stress and forever stress. Good job Tom, Burnie and Steve.

The place was slammed today, especially at 9 o'clock. And I know that if we're packed in the worship gathering, our nurseries and kids church gatherings are slammed, too. We gotta get that upstairs finished to give them more room!!

Geoff Moore's rendition of The Who's "I'm Free" started things off. If you can remember 1969 you might recall that song. It rocked. Seriously. And it was fun for our drummer Chris, who actually was with a band that opened for them in '68. The cowbell was awesome, Andy. [After just watching a couple of videos of The Who performing that song "back in the day" I now understand why they destroyed their guitars at the end of their concerts. Our band's was a much improved version.] The other songs related super with the day's theme and points of the message. In the middle was "Hosanna" (Hillsong United); "Mighty to Save" (Hillsong); "Give Me Jesus" (Jeremy Camp's rendition of an old Negro spiritual) and they closed out with "I Am Free" (John Egan). It was all good!

In between the gatherings I got a phone message that Paul, one of our senior members, slipped into eternity this morning. So, after welcoming everyone in the second gathering I ran over to their home and had prayer with his widow and family. They were sad he was gone but at the same time so happy for him. Paul had suffered a stroke years ago and had other complications that made life tough for him and Jan. But he love the Lord and lived with joy. A celebration of his life will be Wednesday afternoon at NHC at 4:00.

Tonight was our Communion Fellowship! It was my turn to lead the communion. I took a look at Jesus' mission, which He shared after convincing the tax collector Zaccheus to come down from the sycamore tree and have lunch with Him. Those who witnessed this were critical. Z was a sinner, after all! But Jesus set them straight: "I've come to seek and to save the lost". So if that was Jesus' mission, shouldn't it be ours as well. That's what the cross was about.

We're seated at tables, so I asked everyone to use the meal time to share their "sycamore tree" experience with one another. I heard some great testimonies from those at my table. I also asked the band to do their songs "unplugged" tonight. We heard a new song from them: "Lead Me to the Cross" (Hillsong United). Are they replacing Chris Tomlin as Nate's preferred composers? Just asking.

One of our men asked me tonight what he could pray for me about tomorrow. Great question, and one I appreciate being asked. My answer? "That no one else dies for a while". These last nine days have been pretty heavy in that department for me.

Oh yeah. I got to meet Lynsey today. She's from MD and on vacation here and actually reads my blog! And my old bud Lew from Chesapeake was in church (also on vacation). We'll get together for lunch and talk about old times and new things God is doing in our lives.

Great food tonight, too! We had a "luau". Somehow pineapple found its way into a lot of dishes.


RHEA said...

I love "Hosanna" and "Lead Me to the Cross." Brooke Fraser is an amazing songwriter (she wrote both songs, and others that Hillsong and Hillsong United perform).

Apple said...

We visited our old church in Wilmington this morning and REALLY missed you guys! Who would have thought you could become so attached to a church body so quickly?

We had to rush 4 1/2 hours back yesterday so that we could make it in time for the evening gathering...we were late, but we made it!

We appreciate you.

Laurel said...

Ahh, reading your post today brought back memories of Sunday School. We used to sing a song about Zaccheus...

"Zaccheus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he ......"

Darn - sure wish I could remember more of the words now!

Thinking of you, and praying that you get asked to help families out with some happier things. I'm sure you're quite wrung out emotionally after these past several days. I know that I would be.

Paul J. said...

I have a fever...and the only prescription is more cowbell.

Andy Lawrenson said...

nothing like a little cow bell to perk up a worship gathering.

I haven't looked at the numbers but I know that the nursery and kid's church rooms were slammed.

Rick Lawrenson said...

If only we had a keytar player!

MilePost13 said...

I'd give my left leg for a good keytar player...

Here's the whole song, for Laurel...

Zaccheus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he

He climbed into a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.

And as the Saviour passed that way He looked up in the tree.

And He said, "Zaccheus, you come down!"

"For I'm going to your house today. "

"I'm going to your house today."

Rick Lawrenson said...

First song I ever clapped hands to at church. (But only in Sunday school. God forbid we clapped in a church service.)

And thanks Nate for the KJV spelling of "Saviour". It kept the song in context for me.

Matthew & Lynsey said...

Hi, Rick. I just got back to MD and read this post. Thanks for mentioning me! It was a great service yesterday and I was glad to join in worship with your church.

Thanks again for taking the time to blog. I know you must be super busy as a pastor and I'm thankful that out of all the things the internet can be used for, it's so nice to see that God can be glorified in something as simple as a blog. I introduced myself to Nathan as well since I've been following both your blogs for months now.

Like I said on Sunday, I've really enjoyed your posts about Biblical reasons for leaving the church. It's been neat to share your blog address with some of the members of our congregation since we have lost a lot of members in the past year. Unfortunately, most of them were the majority of our servant base and the rest of us are struggling to pick up the slack.

It's been cool see some of the ideas of your Youth Pastor as well since my husband and I volunteer with the youth at our church. I hope we can start to implement some of the strategies that he has used to help make our Youth Group more effective for reaching teens for Christ.

Thanks again for your ministry!