Good morning kind readers. Welcome to the Monday edition of the artist formerly known as “The Pastor’s Blog”. If you’ve kept up with the blog recently you’ve probably noticed the posts have been coming at a 2-3/wk rate as opposed to the 4-5/wk rate that I kept in my younger years. Let me explain some changes that are taking place with the blog…
I’ve been struggling with the fact that The Bridge doesn’t reflect our beliefs about church leadership. This isn’t the place for an ecclesiological argument, but…
- We’re not a “congregationally-led church” that’s a democracy…
- Or a “Pastor-led church” that’s a dictatorship (I don’t think I’d make much of a dictator)…
- We are an “Elder-led/Member-informed church” that’s neither.
Right now you see me preach about 48/52 weeks of the year, read my front-page enews address every week, and see my thoughts 3-4 times per week on the blog. There are very good reasons relating to the spiritual maturation of the church body for the New Testament giving the example of the church being led by multiple elders instead of one guy. Please bear with us as we finish the new website and transition into the blog becoming “church leadership focused” instead of “Senior Pastor focused”.
I’ve read a string of great (not just good) posts lately. Here goes…
- John Piper responds to the question “What happens to infants who die?“
- Justin Taylor asks “Are we responsible for sins for which we may be genetically predisposed?“
- Dr. Russell Moore responds to the question “How much to I need to know about my potential spouse’s sexual past?“
- John Piper answers the question “How could God kill women and children in the Old Testament?”
- A GREAT worksheet to help you diagnose your heart-idols
- Bridger Carmen Klapper follows up on last week’s sermon
You’re the blogger today because there’s some info I’m really wanting to hear.
In what was one of the most fun conversations I’ve ever had, two elders stuck around after an early meeting on Monday and talked for about an hour and a half about the nature of spiritual growth and the church. A TON of our conversation was about the value of personal discipleship. For instance, Jeff Carlisle (picture below) met with me for an hour every week for two years for personal discipleship and completely changed my life.
Here’s my question: Have you ever been discipled by someone? If so, what did that look like?
I have been as good a blogger this week as I have been at raising music stands without destroying them lately 🙂
Some “heavier” posts are going up later this week, but this was just too dang cool not to pass along. I wonder how many times they had to do this to get it right…
I tweeted this comment last week that sparked both intellectual and emotional debate…
If you can compete in it at an Olympic level while 5 months pregnant, it’s not a sport. #Curling
I say the fact that there was woman that is 5 months pregnant on the Canadian curling team is definitive evidence that Curling is not a sport. Some responded that you could compete at a world-class level in either golf or bowling while being 5 months pregnant, but I’ve played competitive golf and there’s no way.
So let the games (not “sport”) begin: Is Curling a sport?
As I drove home last night in a quiet car with three sleeping passengers, I was able to reflect on what we had accomplished and my own personal involvement on this trip to Jackson, TN. And as you’ve read from the previous two postings, you know that there was MUCH to be done.
I was not on a team of people whose jobs were what I considered the BIG ones—no construction, no nail gun duty, no electrical or plumbing. No . . . Anna, Lindsey, Luann, and I got the job of sorting and folding clothes—LOTS of clothes—for what would become City Fellowship’s clothes closet. While others were hammering, sawing, and playing with the nail gun ( . . . Eva!), constructing counter tops and shelves, we were sorting clothes. And, sort we did!
With one look at all those bags of clothing, I started asking myself questions: How many clothes could there possibly BE in all of those bags? Do we really have to sort and fold them all? Were we REALLY going to make an impact by folding clothes? I came to be a blessing; Lord . . . is this what you had in mind? Come on . . . really?
But, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart. Tracy, do everything without grumbling and complaining. Do your work as unto Me. I began to see that His vision was bigger than mine. Heck, his vision was bigger than ALL of ours! I began to pray. I prayed for God to change my way of looking at all those ominous piles of clothes. I prayed Psalm 3:3, “But you are a Shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.” I began asking God to lift the heads of those who would be receiving these clothes. I began to pray protection for the little girl that would someday come to wear those cute, little pink suede boots. I prayed encouragement for the young woman that would someday wear the cute little black skirt with the red bow. I began to pray that the young boy who received the GAP hoodie would grow up to be a mighty man of God. And, for the man who would receive a warm, winter coat I prayed God’s provision for him and his family. My spirit became lighter!
Saturday afternoon, as the members of City Fellowship started to arrive with our dinner, some of us from The Bridge were singing hymns, harmonizing our voices as we worked. It was a special moment, and I think our friends from City Fellowship enjoyed our little concert!! Another highlight was the Sunday afternoon worship experience—and it was DEFINITELY an experience. The singing, praying, and “half-time” were awesome, but Pastor Russ’s message truly pierced my heart. His scripture passages were taken from Ephesians 4:1-6, Ephesians 4:17-5:2. It’s a message to the church about having unity with each other, walking in a manner worthy of our calling because we are part of one body, putting off our old self and taking up the new, and changing our attitudes to line up with the Truth that is in Christ Jesus, and how to become an “imitator of God”. I’d heard all that stuff before but, in this context, it brought to light a whole new meaning for me. I came to understand that whether we’re at our regular worship gathering at The Bridge or in Guatemala building churches, or riding for 17 hours to Fargo to do backyard bible clubs, or folding and sorting clothes in Jackson, TN, we are to be imitators of God. I also realized that I and my fellow “Bridgers” had just come to be “imitators of God” to our friends at City Fellowship, and at that moment we had never been more like Him. We were Jesus with skin on . . . being His hands and feet.
I’m in Ohio at Apex Community Church today learning from their leadership staff and elders so this post is light… and hilarious, I thought.
Occasionally someone will sit next to me, comment that I have a nice voice (if the band was loud enough that day to drown me out) and ask if I ever sing with the band before I preach. Here is what would happen if I did that…