Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Questions

I was asked a question the other day that I've never been asked before. It was almost a rhetorical question; one that really has no answer. Let me explain. We decided to have a "Sack Sunday" at our congregation where everyone would fill up sacks of canned goods and we would take this food to the Open Door Mission, a shelter for the homeless. All of you preachers probably know this, but when you say "canned goods," everyone brings canned goods, and all other kinds of foodstuffs. Our church collected 1,133 pounds of food. This included 622 cans, 50 pounds of sugar, oil, boxes of oatmeal, cake mixes, and many other items. We filled up a pickup truck full of food.
When we arrived the chaplain came out and asked "the" question. Now, let's see how you would answer this. He asked, "Do you have any idea how much of a blessing this is?" That question has haunted me now for a week. No, I don't know. Because God can do such awesome things. In the grand scheme of things, that's really not that much food, but God can make something of it. What I thrill it was for me to be able to say, "Take this food with no strings attached. Give it away or use it to cook meals. Just use it to God's glory."
I've received several thank yous and even a thank you note for this. But think about this, we gave from our abundance. I doubt many, if any, missed any meals because they gave it to the mission. I don't think anyone will be short any money because they spent it on food to give. Now, here's another question. If God can take and bless others when we give out of our abundance, what could He do if we gave sacrificially, truly sacrificially? Wow! Hard to imagine. Have a great day. JW

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Pleasant Surprise

I'm not a big fan of weddings. Don't get me wrong, I believe in them, they are beautiful occasions. But if people put as much money into their marriages as they did their weddings, we'd be much better off. But, I digress.
Recently, I was at a wedding rehearsal and the usual controlled chaos was going on. Where do people stand? When do you bring in the parents? How many grandparents will be here? What order are we walking in? What time are pictures tomorrow? When is the most important part? The rehearsal dinnner? You get the picture.
We were rehearsing the processional and this precious, 5-year old, blue-eyed, blond headed flower girl came down the aisle. She'll be a killer bride herself one day. What caught my heart was what she was doing. She was giggling and smiling from ear to ear....all the way down the aisle. She was relishing the moment, so much so that I told her I wanted her to do that tomorrow as she came down the aisle in the real wedding. I've left out one important detail. This beautiful, precious little girl had to walk down the aisle with a walker. Her legs were bent, she couldn't walk really straight, but that smile, that giggle. "I've got a pretty dress," she giggled as I talked to her. "It's got flowers in it." She said nothing about her disability. She wasn't complaining about her condition. She laughed. How precious.
I thought of Paul and my favorite passage that I quote often in this blog. It's found in II Corinthians 4. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen. For what is seen is temporary. What is unseen is eternal." Caitlyn chose to see the bright side of things. And Paul points us in the same direction. Not on the troubles. Not on the disabilities. But on the joys of the moment. Like Caitlyn, let's not stop smiling. Let's overlook our hurdles and look beyond to what is waiting. Have a great day! JW

Monday, October 05, 2009

And Be Thankful

Martha and I got quite a surprise. Franklin, our youth minister, asked us if he and his wife could take us to dinner. Why sure! I'm never one to turn things down like that. But then we started thinking. Why are they doing this? Is there something they want to tell us? Are they struggling with something? When we got to the restaurant, they teens were there with a welcome "Surprise!" It's Pastor Appreciation Month and they were thanking Martha and me for being at Southwest. We were truly blessed by their "thanksgiving." I am thankful for them and for their love.
Paul tells the church in Collosse to "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, cince as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Those last three words ring in my ears all the time. "And be thankful." Thanksgiving is the gateway to praise. It is the gasoline on the fire of a good and faithful life. The good thing is, we may not all have the talents to preach a gospel sermon or to be a missionary to a foreign country or to lead a worship service, but we can all be thankful. And that I am. Thanks for remembering us! Have a great day! JW